If you want to reduce your salt intake without reducing flavor, you should consider more herbs and spices for healthy cooking. Many of the herbs and spices available to us not only make food taste good, but also have some seriously healthy properties; they are beneficial in many more ways than you might imagine. So if you use more herbs and spices for healthy cooking, you get a double whammy – you can reduce the amount of salt, using spices and herbs as alternative seasonings and also, you will be increasing your intake of anti-oxidants, digestives and active minerals.
Garlic is one of the top herbs and spices for healthy cooking as it offers so many benefits. With antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, it is recognized as a natural antibiotic. This herb is a great help with managing high cholesterol and blood issues and adds a mass of flavor to any dish. Delicious with vegetables, roasts, pizzas or in fact just about anything, garlic should be one of your best cooking friends.
One of the key spices with healthy properties is turmeric. The benefits of turmeric have been recognized for hundreds of years, and the spice is extensively used in Indian, African and Asian cuisines to add flavor and color. No curry would be complete if it did not have Turmeric as one of its ingredients. It contains a nutrient called curcumin which has anti-inflammatory properties. Amongst the variety of complaints and diseases for which it provides benefits are:
• Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
• Ulcerative Colitis, Crohn’s Disease
• Alzheimer‘s and for the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis.
The healthy properties of herbs are found in the oil of the leaves. This is so with Oregano oil, which has anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant capabilities. The oil is popular for relief from inflamed and swollen muscles and joints and is excellent for taking when you have signs of an approaching cold or sore throat. Oregano is one of the main herbs in Italian cooking and in Greek cuisine, where it is more commonly called wild marjoram.
One of the most beneficial herbs and spices with multiple uses is cinnamon. It adds a warm delicate flavor to sweet and savory dishes and is good for you because it reduces the pain associated with arthritis. In addition, it regulates your blood flow, relieves menstrual pain and improves cholesterol levels. It is also regarded as an aid for infertility. It is usable in its natural stick form (bark) or as a powder.
This knobbly root is one of the most powerful spices for healthy cooking. Prized in Asian cuisines, it is also one of the mainstays of Ayurveda, where it is considered a veritable medicine chest all on its own. Ginger is a terrific aid to digestion as it accelerates the body’s absorption of essential nutrients. It can restart a lost appetite by getting those digestive juices flowing, but it also combats nausea. It can reduce flatulence, clear blocked sinuses, relieve sore throats and ease stomach cramps.
Cumin is recommended for helping treat high levels of blood sugar, colds, cancer, insomnia and various respiratory issues. Cumin is particularly popular with North African and Mexican dishes, is one of the key ingredients in any curry base but is used worldwide in everything from bread to cheese. It is also one of the ingredients for Kummel, a Russian liquor with a history of over 400 years.
One of the best reasons to use herbs and spices is, of course, the flavor they can add that lifts a dish out of the ordinary, and one of the most versatile and flavorsome is Thyme. Thyme is the source of thymol, which is an essential oil for our bodies. It eliminates MRSA infections that resist other antibiotics. It is a powerful antiseptic, an anti-bacterial and a very strong anti-oxidant.
Most of the herbs and spices on the supermarket shelves have disease preventing and health promoting properties, but some are clearly more efficacious than others. Choose your spices for healthy cooking not only for flavor but for general good health. Which healthy herbs and spices are your favorite to recommend?