Best Spices and Herbs for Health

Published:November 28th, 2011

© Arjent Ovidiu; www.sxc.hu

Spices and herbs do more than flavor the food. They let you reduce the content of less healthy ingredients such as salt, sugar and saturated fat. Some of the spices and herbs have disease fighting capacity. Studies have begun to link spices and herbs to prevention and healing of certain disorders such has Alzheimer’s disease, obesity related diseases, some types of cancers. While the studies have yet to show that spices and herbs “cure” the disease, there is strong evidence that some chronic conditions are well managed with certain types of spices and herbs. Here is a list of the 8 best spices and herbs to stock up in your pantry and use them regularly.

  1. Chile Peppers: Boost Metabolism – Chile peppers add heat to the dishes. Capsaicin found in these pepper gives it the kick and also boost metabolism. Capsaicin has proven to increase the basal metabolic rate (BMR) and stimulates chemicals that help with satiety. Capsaicin has been linked with lower ulcers. This may be due to the boosting the ability of stomach cells to resist infection by ulcer causing bacteria.
  1. Ginger: Soothes and upset stomach and helps fight arthritis – This herb has been used for years to soothe upset stomach. Studies have shown that fresh ginger and ginger extracts help reduce nausea caused by morning sickness, following surgery or after chemotherapy. Ginger is packed with gingerols, which may help in fighting some cancers and help alleviate pain from osteoarthritis.
  1. Cinnamon: Stabilizes blood sugars – Studies have shown that by taking a teaspoon of cinnamon daily have stabilized blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
  1. Turmeric: Fights inflammation – Turmeric has been used in Southeast Asian countries as a paste to apply on wounds for centuries. Modern researches have also shown that turmeric has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties associated primarily with Curcumin, a compound that is abundant in turmeric.
  1. Saffron: Helps with depression – Saffron has been used in traditional medicine to treat depression. New studies have linked saffron to feeling less depressed during PMS in women.
  1. Parsley: Prevents breast cancer cell growth – Research has shown that apigenin which is a component of parsley (and celery) boosted the resistance to growth of cancerous tumors. Experts recommend adding a pinch of parsley to all your meals daily.
  1. Sage: Preserves memory and soothes sore throat – Herbalist strongly recommend drinking sage tea if you have an upset stomach or sore throats. A study has found that spraying sore throats with sage solution provided with effective pain relief. Preliminary research has shown that taking sage regularly prevents a key enzyme from destroying the brain chemical called acetylcholine. This chemical is involved in memory and learning.
  1. Rosemary: Fights food borne bacteria and enhances focus – A recent study has found that students performed better on memory and alertness tests when mists of aromatic rosemary oil were piped into their study cubicles. Rosemary has been used for ages in preparing marinades for meats and poultry. The rosmarinic acid in rosemary has bacteria fight characteristics and it prevents meat from spoiling. A study done in March 2010 at the Kansas State University reported that adding rosemary extracts to ground beef helped prevent formation of heterocyclic amines which causes cancer causing compounds when the meat is grilled, broiled or fried.

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