Seasoning your food with certain herbs and spices comes with a few health benefits, too. Many commonly used herbs and spices, found within your spice rack, have chemical compounds that are known to fight diseases, improve immune systems or provide pain relief.
Below are 10 examples of kitchen pantry spices and herbs commonly found in your spice rack, that not only taste good but are also good for you.
10 Herbs & Spices with Powerful Health Benefits
Most on our healthy spice list are anti-inflammatory and high in antioxidants and are all must-have spices for any kitchen.
Anti-inflammatory agents are associated with pain relief and reducing infections which in turn helps to fight certain diseases. Antioxidants are known as fighting free radicals in the body which boosts the immune system and prevents cell damage.
Read through the different health impacts of these 10 kitchen pantry staples and look for any characteristics that you could use in your diet.
1. Benefits of Garlic: An Immune System Booster
Garlic has strong medicinal properties and has been used for treating a range of health conditions for centuries. Garlic is full of antioxidants and is known to boost your immune system and lowers your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Garlic is part of the onion family. The main active ingredient in the health benefits of garlic is its sulfur compounds, particularly allicin.
2. Benefits of Ginger: For Nausea Relief & Pain Relief
Ginger is an anti-inflammatory which is why it is soothing and helps with pain relief.
Many benefits of ginger are related to the bowel system with positive effects including nausea relief and reducing inflammation in the colon.
The effects of ginger are often compared to the pain relief offered by aspirin. This is why ginger is a common ingredient in alternative and traditional medicine.
3. Benefits of Turmeric: For Chronic Pain Relief and Anti-Inflammatory
Turmeric is a yellow spice that is full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Its effects are similar to ginger as it offers pain relief too, but turmeric is considered more powerful than ginger.
Turmeric is associated with managing chronic pain, lowering risks of heart disease and cancer and improving brain health. The main active ingredient found in turmeric that is responsible for these effects is curcumin.
4. Benefits of Chili Peppers: A Metabolism Booster
Eating spicy foods has health benefits, too – the capsaicin found in chili peppers (and other peppers) can have positive effects on your metabolism. Capsaicin is said to quicken your metabolism and lower your appetite so it might prove useful for people struggling with obesity and being overweight.
However, it is not a quick hack to losing weight and eating large amounts of chili peppers upsets the stomach. People who are not used to eating spicy food must build a tolerance to the capsaicin, first.
5. Benefits of Rosemary: Against Allergies
The strong fragrance of rosemary is good for you. Rosemary has anti-inflammatory agents that are particularly good at reducing nasal congestion and allergy symptoms.
Rosemary is also associated with increased brain activity including improving memory. This is linked to the compound 1,8-cineole that is found in the herb.
6. Benefits of Cinnamon: For Lowering Blood Sugar Levels
Cinnamon is a common ingredient in sweet baked goods but ironically it has chemical compounds that help in lowering blood sugar levels. Cinnamon makes the body more sensitive to insulin which is exactly what people suffering from diabetes need. It’s also a great ingredient for seasoning popcorn!
The chemical compound associated with the health benefits of cinnamon is called cinnamaldehyde. Other health benefits include antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties and lowering cholesterol.
7. Benefits of Anise Seed: For Increasing Blood Circulation
Anise seed has a lot of positive effects on the body. It is commonly used in Ayurvedic practice for improving digestion and reducing discomforts like nausea and menopause symptoms.
Anise seed is also anti-inflammatory. Other claimed benefits are reducing fungal and bacterial infections and preventing ulcers but the scientific research on these benefits is still limited.
8. Benefits of Cardamom: As a Diuretic
Cardamon is a diuretic meaning it gives a boost to your kidneys for increased urine production. Its diuretic character proves beneficial for removing build-up liquids which in turn can lower blood pressure.
The antioxidants present in cardamon are associated with preventing cell damage. It also attacks bacteria in the mouth which is why it is a common ingredient in toothpaste and chewing gum.
9. Benefits of Fenugreek Seeds: For Increasing Insulin Activity
Fenugreek has shown to improve insulin effectiveness thanks to the chemical compound 4-hydroxyisoleucine. This is why fenugreek helps to lower blood sugar levels.
Other health benefits associated with fenugreek are improved digestion and bowel movements and lowering cholesterol levels.
10. Benefits of Nutmeg: For Stomach Relief
Ingesting nutmeg is said to help with a number of stomachs and digestive conditions like nausea, diarrhea, intestinal gas and stomach pains or cramping. When applied topically, nutmeg is said to provide pain relief.
Nutmeg has the same health benefits as mace which is the layer covering the nutmeg seed. Nutmeg is also hallucinogen when consumed in large amounts so keep nutmeg consumption to a minimal.
This Is Not Medical Advice
The healthy spices and herbs mentioned on this list are not an alternative to medicine. Though the health benefits of these herbs and spices are mentioned in medical research, most ingredients and chemical compounds still require further research.
Consider the mentioned health benefits of these spices and herbs as a supplement to a healthy diet. Consuming these pantry staples may have a positive influence on your general health but they are not cures.
You should never consume an excessive amount of any type of food in the hopes of reaping its health benefits. Often, very small quantities are already enough to have a positive impact while overconsumption comes with health risks.
Always consult your general practitioner when you are interested in using spices and herbs for its health benefits. Medical professionals can advise you on a suitable quantity and its effectiveness.
These spices and herbs have been used for their health benefits for many years. They are considered a natural supplement and are popular in Ayurvedic practices.
Try adding a little of these spices and herbs to your diet and see whether it has a positive impact.