Spices have been an important part of the Indian culinary scene. Without spices, our food would be bland and our palette, lacklustre.
Not only do these spices add aroma, flavour and richness to our various recipes, but also provide numerous benefits for our health.
Let’s look at some of these spices found in our pantry and how they help us improve our health and cure ailments without side effects.
INDIAN SPICES THAT ARE GOOD FOR HEALTH:
Let’s begin with one of the most common spices that we use in our everyday cooking: Cumin, or Jeera, as it’s known in Hindi.
Cumin is best known to give relief from indigestion. It also helps in easier elimination of waste, and is used as a digestive aid.
Consuming Jeera water has been an advice to those suffering from anaemia as it is rich in iron and manganese.
Roast cumin seeds and grind them into powder. Add a pinch to buttermilk to get relief from indigestion.
Along with mustard seeds, you could also use cumin seeds for tempering. It not only adds flavour, but also makes the food easy to digest.
Cinnamon is considered diabetes-friendly as it lowers blood sugar levels.
It’s high in anti-oxidants and protects our body from the harmful effects of free radicals.
It is used to bring relief from sore throat and cold.
Boil a glass of water with 2 tiny pieces of cinnamon sticks. Sip this water to relieve the itchniess in your throat when suffering from cold and cough.
Add powdered cinnamon to coffee, tea, curries and desserts to benefit from its medicinal properties and enjoy its woody flavour.
RECOMMENDED READING: 10 proven benefits of cinnamon
Ajwain, or carom seeds, are the highly aromatic, flavourful seeds that are an excellent digestive. High in fibre, these seeds improve digestion as they help release gastric juices. They also treat heartburn along with digestion issues and give relief from irregular periods, too.
Mix a pinch of ajwain seeds with grated, dry coconut and eat it after dinner. It will help get rid of gas and ease digestion.
RECOMMENDED READING: Two herbs that aid your digestive system
Fenugreek seeds are used for various purposes apart from adding flavour to our meals.
High in water soluble fibre, these seeds help slow down digestion, absorb carbohydrates, and lower blood sugar levels.
Their anti-inflammatory properties give relief from arthritic pain.
The fibre in the seeds also aids weight loss.
These seeds are great for hair care as they reduce hair fall, too.
RECOMMENDED READING: 5 benefits of fenugreek seeds
Cloves have been our go-to remedy for toothache since ages.
This aromatic spice is very versatile in nature as it is used in desserts as well as curries.
The antimicrobial properties in cloves help kill bacteria. And, it is this quality about cloves that helps maintain oral health.
Grind cloves along with a piece of cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper. Add it all to boiling water to make a perfect drink for sore throat. Add a spoonful of honey and drink this herbal tea at least 3 times a day. It will give you faster relief from a sore, itchy throat than any OTC cough syrups, without side-effects.
Garnishing our food with fresh coriander leaves is a culinary ritual. But coriander seeds are also useful not just for adding flavour to our food but also help in treating various health issues.
One of the most surprising health benefits of coriander seeds is in easing menstrual distress. The natural stimulants present in these seeds maintain hormonal balance. This alleviates the pain and discomfort during our periods.
Consuming water boiled with coriander seeds during periods will help tackle menstrual pain. Just boil 2 cups of water with a teaspoon of coriander seeds added to it. Let the water boil till it reduces to half the quantity. Cool it, strain it and drink it.
This rich, golden spice has been an important part of Indian cooking since ages. It’s also been used in Ayurveda for its medicinal properties for thousands of years.
Turmeric has several uses. Its natural antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties make it the best medicine to use on wounds, to disinfect the wound, and stall blood flow.
It’s also anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-carcinogenic, all of which makes this spice the most powerful spices of all!
To cure a sore throat, warm, turmeric milk is the best tonic, as compared to other cough syrups.
A mixture of half a spoonful of sugar and a pinch of turmeric eaten before bedtime gives an undisturbed sleep especially when suffering from a bad cough.
A pinch of turmeric is a better anti-septic than any anti-septic ointments in case of nicks and cuts.
Black pepper is another spice that’s very good for health. Known as the king of spices, it’s best used to aid digestion, detoxify the body, and in weight loss.
It cleans the intestines and stomach, and prevents constipation.
It is also believed to be good for skin and hair as it prevents wrinkles.
Place a peppercorn in your mouth if coughing while asleep. The peppercorn prevents cough and helps you enjoy an uninterrupted sleep.
Add a pinch of black pepper powder to your tea while boiling. It brings relief from cough and cold.
Black pepper helps flush out the toxins from the body through sweat and urine. But, please don’t go overhoard in consuming black pepper. It’s spicy and could lead to an upset stomach.
Keep crushed black pepper handy for use in your recipes, from salads and soups to curries.
The spices we use in our everyday cooking not only add flavour and taste to our food, but also benefit our health and overall wellbeing. Including these locally grown spices in your meals will ensure you stay healthy and well-nourished, too.
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