Health And Nutritional Benefits Of Spices

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Spices not only add flavor to food, they also add health benefits. Some can protect the heart and others can prevent cancer. Do you want to know if your spices at home are good for your health?

No meal would be delicious without spices. Long journeys existed because of them and quite a few wars broke out to gain control over their trade. Spices have been in use for thousands of years. When you think about spices, you think about taste but have you always attributed spices to health?

Studies from recent years confirm the health benefits of spices. Here are some of the most prominent:

Turmeric

How is it produced?

Turmeric is the powder obtained after grinding the plant root Curcuma longa, a relative of the ginger.

Health benefits:

Turmeric is rich in antioxidants. Curcumin is considered to be highly active and has been found to have an anti-inflammatory ability in addition to being anti-oxidant. It is assumed that curcumin protects our DNA from damage and may prevent cancer.

Curcumin may also prevent oxidation of cholesterol in the body. Because oxidized cholesterol is the one that sinks into the walls of blood vessels, leading to cardiovascular disease, preventing the oxidation of cholesterol may reduce the risk of these diseases.

Due to a low incidence of Alzheimer’s disease among the elderly in India, a country with high turmeric consumption, the possibility of curcumin reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s has been tested over the past decade. It is hypothesized that curcumin can reach the brain and prevent the accumulation of amyloid-beta proteins that cause the disease, and the oxidative damage that results from their presence.

Nutritional value?

Turmeric is rich in potassium and iron. One teaspoon contains about 1% of the recommended daily amount of potassium for men and women, about 5% of daily iron consumption for women and 11% of that for men. It is recommended to add turmeric to all dishes, vegetables, grains, legumes, meats and fish.

Cinnamon.

How is it produced?

Cinnamon is actually an inner shell of the branches of a Cinnamomum tree that originated in Sri Lanka.

Health benefits:

Studies on animals and tissue cultures of cells show that cinnamon contains substances that have anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, cholesterol-lowering, anti-tumor, and immune effects.

It is estimated that substances in cinnamon cause a slight reduction in blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes. These substances cause the stomach to empty more slowly. Thus, they slow the rate of increase in blood sugar. In addition, cinnamon appears to affect the cells of the body and cause them to respond better to the insulin hormone, thus improving sugar balance.

Cinnamon contains oils that prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi and is a natural preservative. Last but not least, it may be enough to smell cinnamon to improve brain activity. In an experiment in which subjects were given cinnamon sniffers, they found that they scored higher on attention and memory tests compared to those who did not.

Nutritional value:

One teaspoon of cinnamon contains iron which is about 5% of the recommended daily allowance for women and 11% for men.

It is best to add cinnamon to pastries. You can also mix with yogurt, sprinkle on fruit and add to coffee.

Cloves.

How is it produced?

Cloves are made from dried flowers of the clove tree which is native to Indonesia. Each flower is called a “clove”.

Health benefits:

Clove contains a variety of substances that have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. One of the substances is eugenol which has an analgesic and anti-bacterial effect. Clove is also used in dentistry and in the throat treatment.

Nutritional value:

Cloves are an excellent source of manganese. One teaspoon of cloves contains about 33% of the recommended daily allowance for women and 26% for men.

Due to its sweet taste, cloves can be added to sweet drinks, desserts, and fruit dishes.

Cumin.

How is it produced?

Cumin spice is actually ground seeds of the plant Cuminum cyminum, a relative of parsley.

Health benefits:

According to studies, cumin may increase the secretion of digestive enzymes from the pancreas, thereby helps to digest properly and prevent gas. Two substances called epigenine and luteolin from cumin, have anti-cancer properties.

Nutritional value:

Cumin is an excellent source of iron. A teaspoon of cumin contains 16% of the daily amount required for women and 35% for men.

Paprika

How is it produced?

Paprika is produced from hot and dried chili pepper or a combination of regular red pepper and chili pepper.

Health benefits:

The substance that gives paprika its sharpness is called capsaicin, and it is attributed to the ability to block the division of cancer cells and the ability to fight inflammation. Studies on rats have found that capsaicin causes an increase in HDL (“good” cholesterol) by affecting genes.

Nutritional value:

Paprika is rich in carotenoids, some of which are converted into vitamin A. In fact, one teaspoon of paprika provides more than 100% of the daily amount of vitamin A required for men and women. A teaspoon of paprika also contains about 3% of the daily amount of iron recommended for women and 6% for men.

Black pepper

How is it produced?

This black powder is actually dried and ground fruits of the pepper tree (not to be confused with the pepper in our salad that belongs to the Solana family and is only a bush). The round fruit is picked while still green, and dried in the sun until blackened. If you dehydrate them a little longer you get the white pepper spice.

Health benefits:

Black pepper stimulates the taste buds in the tongue, which send a signal to the stomach to increase the acid secretion in it. Since the acid in the stomach is essential for proper digestion, black pepper is given the properties of improving digestion and preventing gas. This spice is also rich in antioxidants and antimicrobial agents.

Nutritional value:

One teaspoon contains about 3% of the recommended daily intake of iron for women and about 6% for men.

You should can black pepper to any dish such as salads, soups, cereal or legumes, meats and fish, eggs and dairy products.

It is important to remember that despite the promising results in studies of extracellular and animal cells, human studies are still needed to prove the health benefits of spices, especially in their effects on cancer prevention, inflammation and heart disease.

It is worth knowing that there is no single food or substance to prevent disease and protect our health, but a varied and balanced menu that also contains plenty of plant foods. In such a menu, spices have a place of honor and they can also replace less desirable ingredients such as salt, sugar and fat.

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