BENEFICIAL FUNCTIONS OF SPICES
Medicinal plants certainly aren’t foods we’d choose to eat but actually spices that we add to our food to make it taste better – are some of the most powerful medicinal plants. Earliest folk remedies in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine are spices, which are free of many of the side effects of prescription medicines. Some all-natural therapies of these spices included:
Blood Sugar Control
Blood scare or glucose from food containing carbohydrates is used for fuel especially for muscles with the help of the hormone insulin. In diabetes, there is chronically high blood sugar. Cinnamon (3 grams or 2 teaspoons) everyday for eight weeks improves blood sugar control lipid profile and BMI in diabetics. One study that fed patients rice pudding with 3g cinnamon helped metabolize carbohydrates better.
Fenugreek, a spice from India and Middle Eastern cuisine at lunch and dinner improves blood sugar control and blood lipids in Type 1 Diabetics.
Blood Lipid Improvements
Blood lipids (triglycerides and cholesterol) include LDL Cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”) and HDL Cholesterol (“good cholesterol”). Cinnamon lowers LDL Cholesterol and increases or did not change HDL cholesterol, which improves ratio of LDL to HDL, a pattern associated with lower risk of heart disease. Fenugreek powder all lowers total cholesterol and LDL. A third beneficial spice for blood lipid improvement is ginger. Just less than 2 teaspoons or 3 grams reduces triglycerides, total cholesterol and LDL.
Spices act as antioxidants and help prevent nutritional degradation of food during storage. Annatto and Coriander are extremely effective at preserving valuable Omega-3 fatty acids by keeping fats intact from oxidation and going rancid. Prevention of oxidation avoids the creation of Advanced Glycation End-Products (AGEs) that speed up aging process. Spices like cloves, cinnamon, oregano, rosemary, ginger, black pepper, paprika and garlic powder help improve function of the endothelium so prevent cardio vascular diseases.
Reduces DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness)
This is a condition that most athletes experience. 3 grams or 2 teaspoons ginger can help lessen DOMS. Turmeric most frequently used in India and Southeast Asian cuisine improves Gut Flora function. Less than 1 teaspoon or 72-144mg/day of turmeric for 8 weeks is beneficial for IBS (Irritant Bowel Syndrome) symptoms.
Betters the Taste of Healthy Food
Applying different methods of cooking plus the help of different spices it will certainly highlight the taste of the food you are preparing.
Nausea Prevention and Treatment
Ginger is prescribed to pregnant women as anti-emetic (anti-nausea drug) to help treat morning sickness. Ginger does not carry any risk of broth defects (like with thalidomide).
Capsaicin active ingredient in red and hot peppers as metabolism-boosting spice unfortunately does not increase caloric burn because of the enormous quantities needed. But it helps to prevent junk food cravings or lower desire to eat fatty, salty or sweet foods. It lowers gherlin level, the hormone that tells you when you’re hungry.
Taking care of your spices to maintain its health-promoting effect is utmost importance. Wholes spices are better since light, heat and moisture affect them so some spices are better stored in freezers and defrost as necessary. Ethnic markets are usually better sources and cheaper fresher spices. Avoid spice blends (like pumpkin pie spice), which are more expensive. Take advantage of the natural health benefits that spices give us cause it is true what they say nature knows best.