Herbs and Spices Promotes Good Health
Spices have been used for their flavour and colour for thousands of years, and they have also been used for their health benefits.
Today, as we look for healthier alternatives, spices have become an interesting consideration. Medical studies relating to the medicinal benefits of spices have increased considerably over recent decades, along with consumer interest as we try to become healthier, and to live longer.
Guidelines do however recommend using herbs and spices in your diet to help replace and therefore reduce the intake of salt.
The most common health benefit for many spices is their antioxidant effect. The following spices show particular promise for promoting good health.
- Turmeric – One spice that is reaping much attention is curcumin, which is found in turmeric and curry powder. The components of turmeric and curcumin and related compounds called curcuminoids appear to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties, which potential activity against cancer, diabetes, arthritis, alzheimer’s and other chronic diseases.
- Hot Pepper – There may be a host of health benefits in the heat of a pepper. Cayenne pepper is a concentrated source of capsaicin, the powerful phytochemical that gives chilies their heat. Data suggests that the major capsaicinoids of peppers target a variety of pathways involved in cancer development and inflammation, also powerful analgesics.
- Oregano – Fresh green herbs like oregano can offer the same benefits as eating fruits and vegetables, thanks to generous levels of phytochemicals and antioxidants. In one study, oregano had the highest antioxidant activity among 27 culinary herbs and 23 medicinal herbs tested, ranking even higher than fruits and vegetables. Oregano also presents antimicrobial activity against pathogens like Salmonella typhimurium, E. Coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Staphylococcus epidermidis.
- Rosemary – Has been prized for it’s medicinal strengths through history. Today, we know that Rosemary. like other green herbs, possesses antioxidant and antimicrobial activities linked to it’s polyphenol composition.
- Basil – Is one of the medicinal plants widely used in several countries to reduce plasma cholesterol and the risk of atherosclerosis – related diseases. Basil extract appears to contain hypolipidemic and antioxidant substances.
- Mint – Peppermint has significant antimicrobial and antiviral activities, strong antioxidant and antitumor actions.
- Ginger – Some compounds in ginger have potent antioxidant and anti inflammatory activities, as well as digestive benefits.
- Garlic – Contains substances now being studied for their anticancer effects, including allicin, allixin, allyl sulfides, quercetin, and organosulfur compounds
- Cinnamon – The seasoning that’s as comforting as grandmas apple pie, has been studied not only for it’s antioxidant capacity and antimicrobial effects but also for its role in insulin activity. Cinnamon’s active ingredients are polyphenol polymers, which scientists think may act like insulin.