Looking for a beach body or trying to keep diseases at bay? You might want to ditch the salads and stock up on spices instead! Spices do much more than add flavor to your food – they prevent chronic diseases, help treat health conditions, and do wonders for your fitness.
Here’s a list of top 10 super spices that should find a place in your kitchen right away.
#1 Turmeric: Known as the king of spices when it comes to disease-fighting, Turmeric had found a place of pride in Indian Ayurvedic medicine long before the West woke up to it. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric inhibits the growth of cancer cells causing prostrate cancer, melanoma, breast cancer, brain tumour, pancreatic cancer, and leukemia. It also boosts heart health, controls inflammation, and regulates the immune system.
#2 Cinnamon: A nutritional powerhouse, Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants and lowers blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglycerides besides controlling inflammation and fighting fungal and bacterial infections. Weight loss on your mind? Cinnamon helps you get there too!
#3 Ginger: A super spice widely used in Indian cuisine, Ginger aids digestion, prevents gastric ulcers, reduces inflammation thereby preventing chronic inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis, and is also used in the treatment of menstrual cramps, muscle pain, and migraines. Studies show that ginger prevents cells and tissues against oxidative damage thereby preventing cancer.
#4 Mustard: Rich in the super compound capsaicin, mustard is renowned for its metabolic boosting and fat-burning qualities. Being a low calorie condiment as it packs only about 5 calories in a 1.5 teaspoon serving, mustard is great for weight loss.
#5 Oregano: Love sprinkling oregano over your pizza and garlic bread? You’d be surprised to know that oregano stumps other herbs and spices like rosemary, thyme, and mint when it comes to antioxidant activity. Being rich in phytochemicals and the antioxidant vitamin E, Oregano is known to stimulate brain’s antioxidant activity. Oregano oil, on the other hand, is a potent anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral agent used to treat a variety of infections.
#6 Cloves: The king of anti-oxidants among all spices, Cloves act as a natural medicine to fight infections, inflammation, indigestion, nausea and vomiting. Cloves can be added to rice while boiling, to curries, and also to tea for a unique flavour.
#7 Cumin: Renowned for its digestive properties, cumin aids secretion of digestive enzymes from gall bladder and pancreas in the body thereby serving as a powerful detoxifying agent. It also regulates blood sugar levels and is thus great for diabetics and those looking for weight loss. Being rich in iron, vitamin C and vitamin A, Cumin build immunity and helps fight asthma and bronchitis too.
#8 Sage: This spice is a mental powerhouse – it boosts memory, cognitive function, alertness, and also helps treat dementia and Alzheimer’s. That aside, Sage is also known for its digestive properties and for oestrogen-like effects, which help reduce hot flashes in women going through menopause.
#9 Saffron: Being the world’s most expensive spice, as little as a tenth of a teaspoon of it is all you need to reap its many benefits. Lauded as a powerful antidepressant Saffron has been compared to Prozac – a well known antidepressant drug. It also improves blood flow to the brain, boosts cognitive performance, and prevents degenerative eye conditions.
#10 Basil: Originating in India, Basil is known for its antimicrobial and antiviral properties, besides being a rich source of beta-carotene, a precursor of vitamin A, as well as magnesium, iron, and calcium. Basil fights inflammation and helps treat asthma, stress, and diabetes.
Super-charge your food without adding a single calorie
That’s what you do every time you add spices to your diet. Did you know consuming a single teaspoon of cumin daily can help lose three pounds of weight and a spicy meal made by combining pepper and chillies can help burn the same amount of calories as taking a 20-minute walk! It’s time to home-cook your food, flavour it with your favourite spices, and enjoy the taste of restaurant-style meals with the bonus of health.