Most of us have herbs and spices sitting in our kitchen cabinet and they get added to various creations and recipes, but what people don’t know is that herbs and spices do more than simply add flavor to food. Herbs and spices act as healing foods and they cut down the addition of less healthy components like sugar, salt and fat. Addition of herbs and spices imparts an aroma and flavour to the dish which makes it tastier without accounting for more calories or fat.
Basil, which is commonly known as tulsi, can be practically added to everything. Basil is a versatile herb which can be used fresh or in dried form. Basil is known to cure digestive disorders. It has various anti- inflammatory, antiviral and anticancer properties. Basil helps reduce stress by inhibiting cortisol in the body and also helps prevent arthritis. Sprinkle basil on omelets, soups, baked or grilled vegetables or fresh salad for great benefits.
Oregano has the highest amounts of antioxidants than any of the dried herbs and it seamlessly goes into any preparation. Oregano is rich in nutlets like manganese, iron, vitamin k, calcium and omega 3 fatty acids which helps in reduction of cholesterol, acne and dandruff. It is also used in treatments for respiratory tract and gastrointestinal disorders. Oregano is known to have antimicrobial properties and can be used for the treatment of cold, cough, pain and body ache and illness. Sprinkle Oregano on soups and salads to ward off diseases.
Parsley is a small Mediterranean herb generally used for garnishing and adds great colour to your dish and has more health benefits than you think. Parsley has high amount of flavonoids which help lower your cancer risk. The essential oils boost your immunity and helps your heart keep healthy with the presence of considerable amounts of vitamin A and C. Add a dash of freshly chopped parsley on your dishes or add a teaspoon of the dried herb.
Cumin or jeera is an important element in an Indian kitchen. It is used as a flavoring in many dishes and has a strong and soothing aroma. Cumin is a great source of fiber, iron, calcium, vitamin E and B and essential oils. Cumin helps in secretion of digestive enzymes and reduces gas formation. Cumin can prevent and cure anemia, helps keep the skin young and healthy and boosts memory power. Cumin seeds or powder can be a wonderful addition to your soups, stir fry veggies or curries.
Rosemary is a healing herb which possesses properties used to help alleviate muscle pain, boosts the immune and circulatory systems and promote health growth. Rosemary contains an ingredient, carnosic acid, which may improve digestion, memory and concentration and prevent against neurological disorders. Rosemary is typically used as a dried whole herb or in a powdered form in food whereas tea and liquid extracts are also available.
Ginger has been used for its medicinal properties from centuries and it cures everything from migraines to cancer! Ginger is rich in the compound gingerols which due to its inflammation-fighting ability cure cold, pain from arthritis, fights cancer cells and soothes the stomach. Ginger also helps fight nausea and morning sickness. Ginger livens up curries, marinades and sauces.
Turmeric is known to have some solid-gold health benefits which are associated with a compound called curcumin that has potent anti- oxidant and anti-inflammatory values. Turmeric is used for wound healing, to reduce joint pains, dental problems and cold. Curcumin also has anti-cancer properties as it prevents the tumor growth. Turmeric can be added to your curries for a spark of flavor.
The powerful thyme contains a compound thymol which is a potent antioxidant and is a popular herb in aromatherapy. Thyme is packed with anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-rheumatic properties that explain its role in various antibiotics and diuretics. Thyme is a powerful detoxifying agent, increases the production of white blood cells and fights insomnia. Thyme is a stellar digestive herb and is also used to cure bronchitis, asthma and mouth and gum infections. Thyme can be used freshly or in dried form for cooking and can be brewed with tea too.
This humble bulb is easily available anywhere and goes well with any preparation or can be eaten raw too. Garlic contains a sulphuric compound called allicin that fights fungal and bacterial infections. Garlic regulates blood sugar and fights multiple types of cancer. Cardiovascular diseases can be avoided be eating garlic. Fresh cloves are the best but powdered garlic also provides excellent flavour with great benefits.
The aroma and flavour of coriander helps it gain a very useful place in the kitchen. Coriander is a great source of iron, magnesium and vitamins like A, B and C. It helps cure ailments like anemia, strengthens bones and improves nerve function. Coriander also has dermatological benefits and works wonders for obese and diabetics. Fresh coriander leaves can be used for garnishing or coriander seeds can be used for cooking.
Cinnamon twig is known to have some anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties. It is used in the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders including diarrhoea and indigestion. Cinnamon is high in antioxidants and helps maintain blood sugar. It helps in reducing cholesterol levels in type 2 diabetics and also eliminate headaches. Cinnamon can be a great addition to desserts, curry powder and savory foods.
12. Dried red pepper
Chilli peppers can add the much appreciated heat to various dishes and can boost your metabolism too. Capsaicin is the compound that gives chillies their kick and health benefits. It is a rich source of potassium, B-complexes, Vitamin A, C and E. Capsaicin is a hunger suppressant and is beneficial to the heart and the flow of blood. It also has cancer-fighting abilities. Sneak the spice in your daily diet as a little goes a long way.
Mint is a classic herb with a blend of freshness and great flavour. Mint is a great source of dietary fiber, iron, manganese, Vitamin C and B. Mint is a detoxifying agent that cleanses blood and is used to maintain oral health too. Mint reduces stress and relieves from headaches. Mint enhances digestive functions and nourishes the skin. So beat the heat with mint.
14. Curry Leaves
Curry leaves commonly known as kadi patta is a rich source of vitamin A, fiber and folic acid. Curry leaves relieves the digestive system, reduces nausea and heartburn. Curry leaves added to your normal hair oil improves hair health. Chewing on curry leaves can help if you have diabetes with co morbidity of high cholesterol. Curry leaves can be used fresh or dried and is best if consumed raw.
Neem is considered to be a magic potion because of its array of health benefits. Neem is packed with antioxidants, is a rich source of fiber, iron, magnesium and potassium. Neem shield the body from various germs and microorganisms and neem oil is used for treatment in eczema and psoriasis. Neem is essential for oral health and inhibits cancer growth.