Nothing is as simple as adding some good spice to food for health. We discuss 5 healthy spices that you can add to your food. These spices taste good, add a little variety (especially if your health-conscious meals have become repetitive and boring) and best of all: are great for your body.
Chilli peppers add a great taste to meals and are a great way to add flavour to a meal. It works great for those bland meals when you are trying to avoid salt. They are also great to help warm you up during the cold winter months.
They kill Parasites
The burning sensation doesn’t only affect you. Eating chilly foods work as a great parasite killer. Worms, bugs, coccidia and other blood parasites will die if the chilli concentration is high enough. Can’t stomach too much chilli in one go? Don’t sweat it. Start off using small amounts for enjoyment and you’ll end up using more and more once you get hooked.
Chilli Spices Increase Metabolism
Who knew that adding a simple spice could increase your metabolism!? Of course, they don’t increase your metabolism as well as exercising daily; but lots of little changes can go a long way.
They Release Endorphins
Endorphins are the happy hormones that you get from exercising. Their primary function is to boost your will-power after pain or exertion for survival. The stinging sensation from chillies triggers the release of these endorphins. This is what makes people love eating chillies so much. They are a good, natural way to make you feel happier. This is the reason why you will want to eat more chillies if you eat them regularly.
They Help with Appetite
Hot food increases your appetite when you eat it, but decreases it in the long run. I add chillies into my food when I don’t feel like eating but know I should. This is great for when you need to eat the foods you don’t like eating (vegetables, fibres and the other stuff we can’t get enough of). Also, eating chilli foods now will curb your cravings later. Pepper is also another hot spice that has very similar benefits.
Ginger is known for its health benefits. Simply adding a few shakes of ground ginger to your food will benefit your health. Its strong taste goes well with plant foods like greens, salads and fruit mixtures. Some like it with seafood and meats as well. Try out different combinations and find out what pleases your pallet. Please share some of your favourite combinations in the comments.
Ginger is greatly known for its exceptional immune-boosting properties. It is an important component in many get-well-soon remedies for good reason. It helps to relieve nausea, motion sickness, upset stomach and pain. Its anti-inflammatory properties decrease pain sensitivity and even have a small role in decreasing overall joint pain.
Fights off Long-Term Disease
Regular consumption of ginger has shown significant decreased levels of certain cancers, heart diseases, obesity and weight gain. It is also linked to lower risk of osteoarthritis.
Ginger contains calcium, potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, iron, vitamin B6 and C, niacin, riboflavin, niacin and folate. Enough said!
Tumeric is part of the same plant family as ginger. This yellow spice is a common additive to rice in my household. It is the main spice in curry. One of the compounds in turmeric, curcumin, has been attributed to many health benefits.
Tumeric Thins Your Blood
When your blood is thinner, it flows through your body easier and can carry more nutrients. It will also be able to eliminate waste products quicker. Thinner blood lowers overall blood pressure and prevents clotting in the heart, decreasing cardio-vascular related health risks. Blood that is too thin can also be dangerous, although you would need to consume a lot of tumeric for this to be a valid risk factor.
Anti-Pain and Anti-Inflammatory
Just like ginger, tumeric can decrease the pain and inflammation in your body. This will help prevent and manage diseases that can result from inflammation like arthritis, cancer, ulcerative colitis and high cholesterol. Tumeric has also been shown to relieve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
Tumeric Makes You Happy
The curcumin compound in tumeric decreases feelings of depression and increases positive chemical release in the brain. In some studies, tumeric was proven as effective as Prozac in treating depression disorders like major depressive disorder and manic depression.
Not Too much
Just add a little to your food and use it as intended (to spice). Tumeric overdose can lead to nausea, diarrhoea, blood that is too thin and blood pressure that is too low.
As a kid I was taught how good garlic was for me. Those teachings were very true. It might make your breath stink, but it will make your body shine.
This is my favourite benefit. I take garlic pills in the spring and summer seasons to avoid itchy bites. Adding enough to your food will have the same benefit.
Garlic is very good at assisting your immune system. It does this by increasing the amount of certain white blood cells that fight off infection. Garlic itself is anti-viral and anti-fungal. This is why garlic is also found in many cold and flu remedies.
Garlic helps to thin your blood, lower blood pressure and regulate blood sugar levels. Thinner blood increases its efficiency. Lower blood pressure helps to eliminate the risks that high blood pressure brings and regulating blood sugar levels prevents diabetes.
Allicin is a compound found in garlic which is a powerful antioxidant. The arginine (an amino acid) in garlic relaxes blood vessels. Additionally, the mineral selenium that garlic carries increases the potency of antioxidants. These properties keep filtered toxins from reaching the rest of your body and assist the liver in doing its job.
Cinnamon can be used to flavour more than just your pancakes. It is also used in savoury dishes.
Cinnamon is among the food stuffs that contain the highest concentrations of antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from oxidants, which are by-products of normal metabolism and other reactions in the body. These oxidants can damage cells and cause a variety of other diseases. Increased concentrations of antioxidant-rich foods are therefore very closely linked to slowing down the aging process.
Anti-microbial and Anti-biotic
The anti-microbial and anti-biotic properties of cinnamon help to inhibit the growth of germs and bacteria that can be harmful. Increased cinnamon consumption can, as a result, decrease the chances of contracting illnesses like colds and flu.
The anti-microbial effects kill of bacteria in the mouth. This can remedy certain causes of bad breath. These anti-microbial properties can also fight off cavities and tooth decay.
Cinnamon is prescribed by some as the most natural way to prevent and treat candida. The best advice will always be to ask your doctor about ideal treatments, but making cinnamon a regular part of your diet can only benefit you.
Nature has given us everything we need to enjoy life, experience good taste and stay healthy. Making small changes to your lifestyle can always go a long way in making life healthier, happier and harmonic. Remember that healthy prevention is better than expensive cure and to never substitute anything you read online for a doctor’s advice.
Saguren is the Editor of SA Spotters