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Health benefits of spices

Last updated on: June 08, 2013 11:28 IST

Health benefits of spices

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Your everyday spices have more health benefits than you can imagine.

Common spices from our everyday lives are full of benefits. Here is a list for you. You will be surprised what a storehouse of nutrition they all are.

Cardamom (elaichi)

  • Acts as an excellent detoxification agent thereby improving digestion and reducing gas and stimulating appetite.
  • Powdered cardamom can be used in desserts like kulfi or even added to food.

Asafoetida (hing)

  • Consumption of asafoetida helps women during cramps during the menstrual cycle
  • It is also prescribed after childbirth because its anti-flatulent properties helps in digestion
  • A paste of asafoetida and water when rubbed on a infant’s stomach, cures them of colic pains

Carom seeds (ajwain)

  • It helps in digestion and cures flatulent. Its effect is best when crushed.
  • One can add it to the dough to make paranthas or even to flavour meat dishes.
  • It has antiseptic properties and thus has been used as a cough remedy. It can be added to the chicken broth for best results or even added to hot water and its vapours inhaled during colds.

Image: Cardamom acts as an excellent detoxification agent
Photographs: Autopilot/Wikimedia Creative Commons

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Cinnamon (dalchini)

  • Has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties
  • Regulates metabolic rate and betters cardiovascular health
  • Reduces bacterial growth in food

Chili powder (mirchi)

  • It helps to improve circulation and also cures inflammation
  • Helps to improve the body's immunity and also reduces the cholesterol level
  • By increasing the body's metabolism rate it aids in weight loss
  • It lowers the risk of diabetes

Cloves (laung)

  • The essential oil eugenol in has antiseptic properties. This makes cloves important in dental care. For this either a clove can be chewed on or even its oil applied in the area where it hurts.
  • It improves digestion and relieves the body from constipation by increasing the secretion of intestinal enzymes.
  • Cloves contain potassium which helps to control the blood pressure.

Image: Cinnamon not only has anti-inflammatory properties, it also regulates metabolic rate and reduces bacterial growth in food.
Photographs: Photo8/Wikimedia Creative Commons
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Fenugreek seeds (methi)

  • It is an excellent source of soluble dietary fibre which helps to lower cholesterol levels. The seeds can be soaked in water overnight and the water drunk next morning for best results.
  • It helps in smooth bowel movement and prevent constipation.
  • When had with cereals, it is said to increase the milk secretion in nursing mothers.

Cumin (jeera)

  • It helps to reduce the blood glucose level.
  • It reduces pancreatic inflammation and also prevents excess weight loss.
  • Regular consumption improves the body's immunity against infections.
  • It protects the liver from toxic substances.

Fennel seeds (saunf)

  • It is rich in dietary fibre and chewing a pinch of it regularly keeps the bowel movement easy.
  • It helps to relieve coughs and also reduce muscle pains. Boiling a spoonful of it in water and sipping on the warm water is the home remedy to cure muscle pains.

Photographs: Rillke/Wikimedia Creative Commons
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Peppercorn (kali mirch)

  • The essential oil piperine is an alkaloid which not only imparts the pungent character to the corns but also helps to improve the digestive power by increasing the intestinal. For best results grind it to a powder and add it to the food in the end as else most of its essential oils evaporate.
  • Peppercorns contain a number of minerals of which potassium controls the heart rate and manganese acts an antioxidant.
  • It has antiseptic properties which helps to fight tooth decay and swollen gums.
  • Boil it in water with holy basil and drink sips of the warm water for cure to sore throats and flatulent.

Ginger

  • Chewing on sweetened ginger controls motion sickness and nausea, cures gastrointestinal infection.
  • Regular consumption relieves arthritis pain and swelling. Have it in the form of ginger tea.
  • Excess of ginger, can however, not only cause stomach irritation but also adversely affect blood clotting and should be avoided during surgeries.

Mustard Seeds (sarson/rai)

  • Mustard seeds are rich in B complex vitamins which is needed by the body for replenishment, enzyme synthesis and the proper functioning of the nervous system.
  • Vitamin B3 present within the seeds helps to reduce the triglyceride levels thus fighting cholesterol.
  • It is an excellent source of vitamin E which protects cell membranes from harmful radicals.
  • The oil from the seeds is said to cure muscle and arthritic pain and also stimulates hair growth when massaged on the scalp.
  • Massing the warm oil on a baby's chest also relieves him of cold and coughs.
  • The seeds when ground and consumed act as a laxative.

Turmeric (haldi)

  • A powerful anti-inflammatory and antiseptic spice and hence a paste of it when applied to wounds or even stings, helps it to heal.
  • Improves the functioning of the liver.
  • It is often used with warm milk to treat common cold.
  • It reduces the inflammation in arthritis patients.
  • Add black pepper to the dish when adding turmeric as the former is said to help the body in absorbing the turmeric to the maximum.

Image: Among other things, peppercorn helps to fight tooth decay and swollen gums.
Photographs: Dvortygirl/Wikimedia Creative Commons
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