The spices not only help us to get a variety of flavors in our dishes, but they have many healthy properties. Hence, for centuries, they have been used not only as a condiment for food, but also as medicinal remedies. Also, we can help reduce the amount of salt in recipes, which is already favorable for our health measure.
Today, in this blog healthy lifestyle, we speak five spices we use often and encourage you to include them when cooking.
Turmeric is known for its coloring effect by ‘dyeing’ the foods of that characteristic hue, yellow and orange. But it is mainly because of its health properties that it has become part of what is now known under the concept of ‘superfood’. That is, foods that excels among others because of their high concentration of nutrients and / or their great capacity to produce health benefits.
In the case of turmeric, its main component, the curcumin, has been the subject of many studies that have confirmed their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immune moderators properties (with ability to modify the immune system). For this reason, we continue to investigate the benefits of its consumption, through either diet or supplementation, for some inflammatory diseases such as arteriosclerosis, cancer or diabetes, among many others.
The truth is that until recently, I almost did not use this species in my dishes. Now, however, I use it very often and I especially like it in sautéed vegetables. Of course, at first add little quantity until you find the right point, because its aromatic taste can sometimes prove too strong.
The cumin has a fairly intense and slightly bitter taste. Its main virtue is that it is a spice with antispasmodic properties by reducing the formation of gases and reducing fermentation in the intestinal flora. For this reason, it is highly recommended to combat digestions. Personally, I love adding cumin in my vegetable recipes, especially in lentils with vegetables, and also when I prepare hummus of chickpeas, where it is one of its key ingredients.
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Although there are different types of pepper, they are all characterized by providing a spicy point to our dishes. In the case of black pepper, this stimulates the production of digestive juices and therefore digestion. However, it is advisable to use it in small quantities, as it can irritate and inflame the digestive mucous (especially if you have a delicate stomach). It is also attributed antioxidant properties. In my case, I use the pepper in almost all the dishes. I love. At home we have different types of pepper and combinations thereof (green, black, white, red), granular or ground … For grilled meats, for example, I love wearing white pepper; While for vegetables, salads or fish I prefer black pepper or a combination of them.
Cinnamon is best known for the aromatic touch so characteristic that gives desserts and sweet recipes, but also for its digestive properties. In fact, if you cook your crust in water (for example, when preparing an infusion), it can help fight indigestion, slow digestion and discomfort derived from them. Different studies have proven its high antioxidant power (thanks to its important content in phenolic compounds) and there is also research pointing that could reduce the levels of blood glucose and triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol.
At the same time, cinnamon composition contains proanthocyanidins, a type of antioxidant flavonoid with known properties for health care and slow urinary tract infections urine.
Although its use in cooking is often reduced to baking or to give a more aromatic touch to the infusions, it can also be used in all types of recipes.
Cardamom is a very particular aromatic spice that enhances the taste of food or beverages. In addition to improving digestion related nuisances, it is also used to stimulate appetite and are attributed beneficial to combat constipation and congestion in catarrh properties. Personally, I use it to aromatize teas and infusions and also in some pastry recipes.
And you? Do you normally use spices when it comes to cooking?