In our last post, I focused on 7 good foods to include in your diet on a regular basis. Today I would like to draw your attention to herbs and spices that have been shown to be very important for health.
In fact,herbs and spices have been used for centuries for medicinal purposes. They contain components that actually have the capacity to exert healing effects on the body. And the great thing about herbs is that they also are great for cooking and culinary uses. However, herbs and spices are often needed in only small amounts. You don’t need a lot of them to get the benefits that they offer.
So here are the 5 that I recommend that we all use in our cooking and for other health purposes.
The root of the ginger plant has been revered for its medicinal properties for ages. Ginger contains a substance called gingerol that is thought to be responsible for the powerful health and medicinal benefits it offers.
Ginger is known to be useful for digestive health. It is very good for people with nausea and even for morning sickness. But it is also good for enhancing digestion. If you have digestive issues or nausea having some ginger in water or tea can help.
Ginger has also been shown to help reduce inflammation and pain and is useful for people with cramps, menstrual pain, and even arthritis. But it also has so many other benefits including benefits on blood sugar and cholesterol levels as well as on fighting infections.
Use ginger as often as you can. You can add it to smoothies, to hot water, to tea, and can even be ground or dried and used in salad dressings and in food preparation.
Most people already know about turmeric. This is different from tamarind which is a leguminous fruit that comes in pods. Turmeric like ginger is a root. It is one of the most powerful herbs for health because of one of its active ingredient called curcumin.
Curcumin is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer compounds known to man. Curcumin is therefore very useful for any condition where there is inflammation such as in arthritis, heart disease and metabolic syndrome. It is also very useful in fighting and preventing cancer. But curcumin also has many other benefits such as improving memory and fighting dementia.
However, unfortunately, the curcumin content of the turmeric root or powder we use at home is not as high as we think. Only about 3% of turmeric has curcumin and therefore while turmeric is great for health, it is always a challenge to get a good enough dose from using the turmeric spice alone. To get a good amount of curcumin, it is much better to get curcumin as an extract. This is best as a curcumin supplement or extract. So extracts are usually much more potent. And one more thing, curcumin isn’t well absorbed on its own and so it should always be used with black pepper which enhances the absorption of curcumin by over 1000 percent.
Garlic is a plant of the allium (onion) family. It is also a highly medicinal food because of its high content of sulfur-containing compounds such as allicin that are activated when garlic is chopped or crushed.
These compounds together with its high antioxidant content have made garlic a very powerful immune-boosting and detoxification food. Garlic is therefore very good for reducing cancer risk and is also good for fighting infections. It has strong anti-microbial effects. It is no wonder it is one of the foods used when people have colds and respiratory infections.
But garlic is especially useful for cardiovascular health and has been shown to help significantly reduce blood pressure and blood cholesterol. Anyone with high blood pressure or high cholesterol must use garlic as often as possible.
It also has a great flavour so can boost your health as it enhances the taste of your food.
Cinnamon is a spice that is made from the inner bark of a type of tree called Cinnamomum. Cinnamon is mostly known for its ability to improve the function of the blood sugar control hormone called insulin. Cinnamon has been shown in studies to be very good in helping people with diabetes and pre-diabetes to have their sugar under control. People with diabetes or pre-diabetes should use this often.
But cinnamon is also known for its ability to fight bacterial, fungal and even viral infections. It has been shown to help people who have HIV improve their immunity. And it also helps reduce inflammation in the body and is therefore great for brain health, cardiovascular health and even cancer prevention.
Ginseng is another very good herb that you should know about. It may not be as common as the first 4 but it is very useful too. It is also a root that specifically has important effects on the brain and energy. These are the 2 uses it is best known for.
It has been shown to help to improve mood and reduce stress. It helps to relax the brain and make you feel less anxious and irritable. It is also very good for improving concentration. It is also an invigorating herb and is known for treating sexual dysfunction. It can also help with weight loss by reducing appetite, reducing emotional eating and increasing metabolism
This herb is best used by adding it to tea or by using it to make tea. If you cannot find the fresh root, the powder is also a very good alternative
There you go. 5 great herbs to boost your health. I encourage you to occasionally get all 5 herbs and blend them together in a high power blender, add a bit of lemon and honey and you will have a very powerful immune-boosting, cancer-fighting, energy-giving and brain-boosting drink.
You can add this mixture to hot water, add it to a smoothie or simply take 3 to 5 tablespoons as a health shot.
I hope these herbs and spices can make a positive impact on your life
Wishing you health and happiness