You most likely have a cupboard filled with them, or perhaps even a fancy rack strategically positioned on your counter for a decoration with an aesthetically appealing assortment of them. However, you probably don’t know much about them other than the taste they supply in your cooking. You may be surprised to learn that spices and herbs actually carry substantial amounts of vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients which, when added to food, do a world of good for your health. Herbs and spices have been used medicinally for decades, but did you know they can also help you fight cancer, improve heart health and help you keep your healthy weight? Keep reading to find out more about the health advantages spices and herbs may provide and which ones you may get these benefits in.
Many herbs and spices contain enormous amounts of minerals and vitamins that assist in boosting the immune system to ensure proper function. Many spices and herbs also comprise anti-microbial, antibacterial and antifungal properties which play significant roles in fighting foreign invaders that may potentially wreak havoc on your immune system. Keeping your immune system working properly can help you combat illnesses and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Basilic, chives, cloves, cumin seeds, marjoram, nutmeg, oregano, peppermint, rosemary, sage and tarragon are among some of the spices and herbs that contain these immune system boosting benefits.
Cancer fighting properties
A wide collection of spices and herbs contain polyphenol and anti-oxidants, which help destroy free radicals which can result in cancer. Among other things like lifestyle, family history and genetics, some processes in the body which cause cancer result from oxidative stress and inflammation. Polyphenols and anti-oxidants are strong cancer-fighting compounds because they struggle oxidation of free radicals and inflammation in the body. In reality, a recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition emphasized the advantages of adding a rosmarinic acid mixture of rosemary and eucalyptus to hamburger meat prior to cooking had on preventing cancer inducing oxidative stress. Specific herbs and spices that contain cancer-fighting compounds include cardamom, cinnamon, chives, cumin, curry, oregano, rosemary and garlic.
Some herbs and spices like ginger and peppermint are notable for owning stomach soothing properties. Gingembre aids in digestion by relieving symptoms of gastrointestinal distress and relieving nausea. It promotes elimination of intestinal gas and acts as an antispasmodic by soothing and relaxing the intestinal tract. Menthe poivrée helps to alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome like indigestion, dyspepsia, and muscular spasms. Marjolaine is an aromatic herb in the mint family and has also been demonstrated to play a part in helping digestion in many of ways like relieving nausea, relieving gas, soothing stomach cramps and relieving constipation. Other spices and herbs, like chives, play a part in maintaining the digestive system working properly. Ciboulette have anti-bacterial effects which could aid in proper digestion and increased use of nutrients. Cardamome, cinnamon, cumin and nutmeg are various other herbs and spices which have digestive system advantages.
Heart Health benefits
Several herbs and spices contain cardiovascular benefits. Basil is a really good source of vitamin A via its concentration of beta-carotene, a potent antioxidant that protects the cells that form the lining of your blood vessels from free radical damage and helps prevent free radicals from oxidizing cholesterol from the bloodstream. Why is this significant? Because oxidized cholesterol is what builds up in your blood vessel walls and causes atherosclerosis that typically may lead to a heart attack or stroke. Basil is also a fantastic source of magnesium that’s essential for cardiovascular health by helping the blood vessels and blood vessels relax and enhancing blood circulation, reducing the risk of irregular heartbeats and spasms of the heart or blood vessels. Persil is a great source of folic acid that has an significant role in maintaining cardiovascular health. Curcuma contains a compound called curcumin that has been connected to provide cardiovascular protection by lowering cholesterol. Origan and rosemary also contain antioxidants to protect against oxidative stress and atherosclerosis. Chives are members of the allicin family. Allicin has been associated with lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Other cardiovascular protective herbs and spices are cayenne pepper, cinnamon, chili peppers and nutmeg.
Cayenne pepper and chili peppers are related to the promotion and maintenance of healthy weight. This is because the two spices are proven to boost metabolism. A study found that participants burned more calories after meals that consisted of meals with just a half a teaspoon of dried, ground cayenne pepper compared to those who did not eat food with cayenne pepper. These results were attributed to the “burn” of the dried red pepper that sparked a rise in body temperature, higher energy expenditure and increased appetite control. Chili peppers contain the exact same property that generates the “burn” like cayenne pepper.
Mental health, memory and mood
A few spices and herbs have been linked to offer mental health benefits. Sage was shown to improve mood and mental performance in younger individuals, and to enhance memory and attention in elderly adults. It’s been suggested a rosemary extract can help improve thinking and learning in older adults with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have also shown saffron and curry to protect against or encourage improvement in Alzheimer’s symptoms. Noix de muscade has been associated with improvements in rosemary and memory aids in improving concentration as it’s been proven to improve blood circulation to the brain.
Many of these vitamins, antioxidants and mineral in spices and herbs can also be beneficial in providing anti inflammatory properties. The high vitamin C content in parsley was shown to provide protection against inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis. Additionally, turmeric has been used as a anti inflammatory remedy in China and India and is used for joint health in the USA. Basil, rosemary, curry, and sage also have anti-inflammatory advantages.
Thym has a broad selection of medicinal uses for chest and respiratory problems including coughs, bronchitis, and chest congestion. Cayenne pepper comprises the chemical capsaicin, which has been analyzed to open up and drain congested nasal passages.
As you can see, spices and herbs contain many properties which can be good for improving and maintaining your health and bodily functions. Set a goal and begin experimenting with a new spices or herb each week. Your body and your taste buds will thank you!