Indian Herbs & Spices That Promote Health & Wellness, Part I

Spice Box
Spices are an integral part of vegetarian food. Adding spice to your life may reduce heart disease and diabetes.  Seasonings are a concentrated source of disease- fighting phenols. Allspice, cinnamon, cloves, marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme, and turmeric, pepper are all good. One needs regular doses in small amounts more frequently than just once in a year.

Spices add aroma and zest to food. For a long time in India and Asia spices have had a great value  monetarily and in the kitchen. Some uses are just habitual and used from generation to generation without knowing the real effect of particular spices in food. But with advances in science research, their values and importance have grown. Most of the spices are used to offset the foods' negative effects. As with any recipes that use milk, the use nutmeg is recommended to relieve intolerance. In combination with cardamom it becomes a good mixture and adds the digestive trait to milk products. It can be taken as medicine for stomach ache, flatulence, dysentery, vomiting and nausea.

I have a short list of commonly used spices and herbs which are used in day to day cooking.  The idea is to use spices and herbs in every day. They prevent harmful bacterial growth and aid in wellness. Spices and herbs should be used in small amounts incorporated into each meal so that one can take full advantage of their benefits.  These ideas brought about the spice box.  Spices can be stored dry in an airtight container and have approximately a two-year life span.

Herbs have to be fresh. They give distinct taste and personality to food. No doubt, they help to aid in digestion and give character to recipes. Herbs such as bay, basil, thyme and dill are used in flavoring many recipes.

Weight Loss Programs are a big marketing tool for many publishing companies. As the new year approaches, the psyche of common people will be towards how to lose weight. Indian cuisine is of all about health even if it is cooked with oil. It uses ingredients that take care of your heart and general well-being. Ancient Ayurveda suggests that we include all tastes, including sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent, in at least one meal each day to help balance unnatural cravings. Here are  foods /ingredients that can help you lose weight and prosper health and well-being.

Cinnamon and Cloves:
Used extensively in Indian cooking, these spices have been found to improve insulin and to lower glucose and total cholesterol, LDL and triglycerides in people with type 2 diabetes. Cinnamon is the aromatic dried pieces of layers of inner bark of several luraceous trees. it is one of most important tree spices used in Indian cooking ,having sweet and astringent taste. It is useful as flavoring agent in desserts, cookies and curries. It is used as a  carminative: as a stimulant to treat nausea and vomiting.  Cinnamon oil  is  a powerful germicide and has the properties of an antiseptic.

Foods containing chilis are considered to be as foods that burn fat increasing metabolism. Capsaicin is a thermogenic food, so it causes the body to burn extra calories for 20 minutes after person eat the chilies.

Curcumin, the active component of turmeric, may help to reduce low-density lipoprotien (LDL) or commonly known as bad cholesterol. It increases blood circulation and prevents blood clotting thereby helping to prevent heart attacks. This powerful Indian spice can help prevent Alzheimer's. It removes the build up of amyloyd plaque and delays the progression of disease. Haldi contains antioxidants that protect our cells from age-related damage. It is a very antiseptic agent as it can act both internally and externally for skin infections. For many years Haldi has many uses beside adding color and flavor to the food.

Common Uses:

To enhance the complexion used with chandan - sandalwood
To expel worms in kids and adults
To treat with infections
To provide an antiseptic dressing to wounds
To help in asthma and regular cough and cold
To help reduce swelling in sprain
Most of the time Turmeric is household herb that is always handy in Desi kitchen.  It is widely available at Indian and ethnics stores near you.

One of the most effective fat burning food, garlic contains the sulfur compound allicin which has anti- bacterial effects and help reduce cholesterol and unhealthy fats. It is carminative and aids in digestion. It is very popular in world of medicine for its healing properties. It is widely used in all over the world in soups, beans, and curries.

Popularly known as the queen of spices, It is a dried fruit of a herbeceous plant and one of the most valued spices. It is known as a thermogenic herb which increases metabolism and helps burn body fat. In Ayurveda, Cardamom aids and is believed to soothe digestive system and helps body process other food more efficiently. It is popularly used as a flavoring agent in desserts. It is very commonly used as a mouth freshener.  It also helps with nausea and vomiting.

Mustard Oil:
This strong pungent tasting oil has low saturated fat as compared to other oils. It consist of fatty acid, oleic acid, erucic acid and linoleic acid. It has antibacterial properties so it was highly used in pickles. It is loaded with essential vitamins.

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