Spices and Herbs: the key to delicious food and a healthy diet
This entry was posted on June 4, 2012.
Spices and herbs make your food taste good. That's why we use them. That's why centuries ago, some spices were worth their weight in gold. But it turns out there's another reason to add them to your food- they're good for you. In fact, there's a whole wide range of health benefits just waiting for you in your kitchen cabinet. And whether you're adding a dash of red pepper or a touch of oregano, you'll find that many spices and herbs can even rival some fruits and vegetables in health benefits.
We created this blog to help illustrate all the incredible health benefits that spices can offer, and also to give a couple useful tips when creating your masterpieces in the kitchen. And remember, useful tips go both ways, so please leave your own ideas or helpful hints in the comments section below.
Cinnamon offers a taste that's semi sweet, very complex, and really impossible to be compared to anything else. It's a common spice for breakfasts and desserts. We recommend it with your oatmeal, hot chocolate, cookies, and ice cream. Cinnamon can have a powerful taste though, and a little goes a long way, so there's no need to douse your food.
Cinnamon has surprising health benefits too. It's been shown to reduce blood sugar level, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol with people suffering from type-2 diabetes.
Garlic is an extremely versatile ingredient, and is as comfortable on a hearty steak, as it is in a stir-fry, or a nice casserole. Its taste is slightly savory, with a delicious little kick. We recommend a dash of garlic on anything that's meaty or savory- including stir-fries, meat and fish, noodle dishes, sauces, marinades, and potatoes.
Garlic has been a popular herbal remedy for centuries. It has been used as a cure or prevention for everything from a bad cough to the plague. But as more and more studies have been done, we find that garlic has many real applications. It has shown to help in the management of blood cholesterol levels, as well as the reduction of tumors, and it's even shown to help destroy some cancer cells. It has also shown to work as a natural antibiotic, and antioxidant.
Sesame Seeds are commonly used and appreciated for their rich and nutty flavor. They're often used on various types of pastries, such as hamburger buns or on crackers. They're also used on some types of sushi, as well as many noodle dishes across Asia. Because the seeds can be quite striking, due to their their black or white color, they're very popular as a garnish or decoration.
Sesame seeds offer a wide variety of nutrients and health benefits. They are rich in antioxidants, and are an excellent source of calcium, copper, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, vitamin B1, zinc, vitamin E, protein, and fiber.
Oregano adds a great depth and complexity to any dish. Oregano's flavor, by itself, can be somewhat pungent, so we recommend only adding a little to your food. The spice goes particularly well with pasta sauce, eggplant, and any meat. You can also sprinkle some on your scrambled eggs or pizza too.
Oregano makes a good addition to a meal, not just for its flavor, but also because it is high in anti-oxidants, fiber, iron, and omega 3 fatty acids.
Onions are probably one of the most versatile ingredients out there. Use them with meat or stir-fried vegetables, soup or a marinade, pasta sauce or grilled fish. Onions can range from savory to sweet, and the type of onion, combined with the style of cooking offers a huge range of flavor possibilities.
Along with their immense versatility, onions boast a wide range of vitamins and nutrients. They can be effective in preventing certain types of cancer, including stomach and gastrointestinal. Onions can also lower blood pressure, help prevent blood clots, prevent some cardiovascular diseases, and help to lower LDL cholesterol.
Ginger is a widely used condiment, especially among sushi or stir-fry dishes. It offers a taste that can exist somewhere between spicy, tart, and bitter. Used in small quantities, ginger can add a fantastic depth and complexity to your meals. We recommend it with meat, stir-fry, marinades, or salads.
The health benefits of ginger are widely studied as well. It works surprisingly well in treating various stomach ailments, such as diarrhea and stomach aches, and it is even known to reduce cholesterol.
Pepper can be found in black, red, and white, all of which offer various tastes, and are ideal for different foods. Black pepper is more appropriate for meat, potatoes, eggs, or savory foods. Red pepper is a bit more spicy, and can work for soups, pastries, savory Italian dishes, or noodle dishes. White pepper generally has a less potent flavor than black pepper, and is more oriented toward lighter foods like salads or mashed potatoes.
Black Pepper has similar health benefits to white pepper. They are rich in anti-oxidants, iron, vitamin-K, manganese, and have been shown to have positive results on intestinal health. Pepper has even been known to reduce gas- take note flatulent people!
Red Pepper comes from a different plant than white and black pepper, so its health benefits are different. It has a high vitamin-A content, and has been shown to help prevent blood clots. Red pepper has also been shown to raise metabolism, and early studies have suggested that it may even help prevent some cancers.
We hope this blog has helped you to understand the great potential of spices and herbs, not just in their capacity to add flavor to our meals, but also to make us healthier, happier, and live longer. If you've got any questions, or have any useful tips of your own regarding spices, please put them in the comments section below. We always want to know what you all think of our work here.