Much is made of using a variety of herbs and spices for good health. There’s a huge variety of tasty items available to be added to home cooking and various home remedies. Before we get into our own healthiest spices, it’s worth being sure of exactly what defines a herb or a spice. You might never have thought about the difference between a spice and herb. Most people probably even think of them being interchangeable. A quick Google search will show you that this is indeed the case. Here’s how you tell the difference:
- Spices come from all the parts of a plant except for the leaves. So the bark, seeds and roots can all be used to make spices. Fruits and flowers from plants can be dried and used as spices also. Spices have a much stronger flavour than herbs and often require just a small amount to be used.
- Herbs come from the leaves of plants and can either be used fresh or dried. Generally these plants don’t have woody stems. When using dried herbs you require much less than if you were to use fresh herbs.
Some plants actually produce both a spice and a herb by using different parts of the plant. Coriander is a great example of this. Coriander leaves are used either fresh or dried in a variety of dishes and this use would be classed as a herb. When the seeds of the same plant are used they are classed as a spice. Dill is similar, as the same plant produces both spices and herbs.
Now that you’ve had a science lesson, here are our top 10 spices for good health?
1. Cinnamon. Produced from bark. Great for indigestion and diarrhea, and may help to reduce cholesterol. Cinnamon can be used in baking or added to drinks.
2. Nutmeg. A seed. Aids digestion, helps with diarrhea and can help treat colic. Nutmeg is often teamed with cinnamon when used in baked goods.
3. Cloves. A flower bud. Cloves can be used to treat tooth ache, indigestion and flatulence (!) With an amazing sweet flavor, cloves are great for adding to meats and baked goods that need a little sweetening. Adding cloves to a baked ham is a lovely festive touch that will have everyone commenting on your cooking skills.
4. Garlic. A bulb. The health benefits of garlic are well documented. Many studies have shown that garlic is a fabulous antioxidant which can aide in cancer prevention. High blood pressure can be lowered by upping your intake of garlic and garlic can also have an effect in lowering cholesterol. Garlic is easily added to almost any meal and is available in a dried form that can be sprinkled on food.
5. Ginger. A root. Said to aid in better digestion and possibly be an aphrodisiac! Ginger is another spice that is exceptionally easy to include in your diet simply by including it in the odd stir fry. Many sweet dishes can also be enhanced with the addition of ginger.
6. Peppercorns. From berries. Gum inflammation and muscular pain can be treated by adding peppercorns to your food. Peppercorns are easily obtained from any supermarket and come in a variety of colours that have varying degrees of heat.
7. Turmeric. A root. Derived from the root of the saffron flower, turmeric is helpful for many ailments, including fighting cancer. Many natural health doctors say turmeric is the most vital spice to boosting your immune system which is why it is said to have so many health benefits. (The flower of the saffron plant is also a very powerful spice worthy of making this list on its own.)
8. Licorice. A root. Great for treating coughs and sore throats. Also helpful for upset stomachs. You should consult your healthcare practitioner if you plan to use licorice and are taking prescription medication.
9. Cumin. A seed. Cumin may be helpful in treating flatulence, diarrhea and indigestion. Germ-fighting is also an important property of cumin. Cumin is a prominent ingredient in many Middle Eastern dishes.
10. Allspice. A berry. Use to treat muscle ache, toothache and Rheumatism. With a combination of flavours, allspice can be added to stews, soups and desserts with equal success.
There you have a list of our healthiest herbs and spices but don’t stop with just these ten. There are so many combinations of spices that will enhance your cooking and also contribute to your improved overall health.
Provided by Natural Blaze