What Spices Should We Eat and How They Help the Body?

What Spices Should We Eat and How They Help the Body?

Spices Add Variety to Your Food

Spicing up the plain and healthy meal of yours is great especially for your taste buds and health. All you must do is reach out to your spice rack and add the required amount of spices to flavour your food. The best part is that you get the required boost of antioxidants that help in protecting your body cells from getting damaged.

Dieticians state that there are more than 100 types of spices that are used in cooking, and these are filled with a huge amount of antioxidants. The best part is that some of them have more therapeutic properties compared to others.

You do not have to go for a massive hunt for exotic ingredients as most of the great spices can be found at the local market. Various studies show that many spices are available, and they provide a great number of health benefits too.

Benefits of Consuming Spicy Food

Some of the major benefits of having spicy food are –

Longevity Benefits

Having spicy food for four to seven days a week or even just a single day in a week will reduce the mortality rate by 15 percent. Various studies conducted worldwide have clearly supported this fact.

Speeding Up Your Metabolism

As per the data from various studies show certain spices like cinnamon, cumin, pepper, turmeric, and chilies will increase your metabolic resting rate. It will also help in slowing down your appetite. Some of the studies even proved that turmeric helps in suppressing the growth of fat tissues among mice.

Frankly, the effect is very mild. Hence, placing cinnamon on the roll will not help in reducing weight to a great extent. As you have reached the plateau of weight loss, then spicing it would be something that you can try.

Combating Inflammation

The compound present in turmeric called curcumin helps in lowering the inflammation present in our body. In various ayurvedic medicines, the anti-inflammatory properties present in garlic and ginger that are used for centuries can treat various conditions like autoimmune disorders, arthritis, nausea, and headaches.

Fighting Cancer Cells

Capsaicin which is an active component present in chili pepper helps to slow down and destroy the cancer cells. Various studies and research work show that capsaicin helps in inhibiting the prostate cancer cell’s growth, especially in mice while allowing the healthy cells to be unharmed.

Killing Bacteria

Spices can help in killing various bacteria. Turmeric and cumin contain powerful antioxidants and even they have antimicrobial properties. These are great against the fight to kill bacteria in the body.

Going with Real Thing

Certain spices and herbs are sold as supplements like capsules of cinnamon extract and oregano oil. Most dieticians recommend having to consume the spices or herbs in their natural form rather than going with the pills. Unluckily, there are not any regulations regarding the usage of supplements and there is less government oversight too. Sometimes the capsule might not have the required amount of something that it claims, or chances are there that it might have some unhealthy additives.

Just think of food as an army. Various compounds from spices and herbs along with other foodstuffs you eat, work together for providing the best health benefits. You might not know that you would gain the same results by taking the same ingredients as supplements.

Best Herbs for Your Health

You might be new in cooking and struggling with the health benefits of spices and herbs. Luckily, health and diet experts recommend that you try each item with a pinch at a time for finding out which flavours and ingredient combination suits your taste buds.

Some of the major herbs you might want to try out are –

Cinnamon for Lowering Blood Sugar

This is one of the famous spices and is available from the bark of a cinnamon tree. This is used almost in every foodstuff, right from Cincinnati chili to pumpkin spiced lattes. This is a great spice for people suffering from high blood sugar.

Not only it provides a sweet taste to the food without adding sugar, but it also helps to control the blood sugar level for people suffering from type 2 diabetes. There are other various benefits of cinnamon-like they help in keeping your heart healthy. Do you know they help in reducing triglyceride levels and high blood cholesterol levels of the human body? These are very much important for people suffering from diabetes, especially ones that have a greater risk of suffering from heart diseases.

Keep in mind that cinnamon is not a replacement for diabetes medication or any kind of carbohydrate-controlled diet. However, they are a great addition to a healthy lifestyle.

Turmeric for Avoiding Inflammation

In various Indian curries, turmeric is a common spice used and it is really one of the trendiest food items that help in reducing inflammation. It is common knowledge that inflammation leads to various illnesses and discomfort. The presence of the component curcumin in turmeric helps in reducing inflammation present in the brain.

Various studies show that this so-called curcumin helps in curing Alzheimer’s disease and even avoiding depression. As per a small study conducted on adults, it was found that when they consumed curcumin for 14-18 months, there was a huge improvement in their memory. Furthermore, besides spiking their memory test, it even helped them to be in better spirits.

Their brain scans also showed fewer markers that are often linked to cognitive decline. As curcumin contains anti-inflammatory qualities, they are great in lowering pain and swelling among people suffering from arthritis. Besides, studies that were conducted at Johns Hopkins showed that the combination of chemotherapy drugs along with curcumin helped in reducing the drug-resistant tumours compared to the usage of chemotherapy alone.

Ginger Helps in Avoiding Nausea

Being a tropical plant, ginger is commonly used in Asian cultures for various thousands of years. They are often used for treating diarrhoea, stomach upset, nausea, etc. In the USA alone, they are available in various forms like candies, lollipops, teas, capsules, etc.

You can buy dried powder ginger in the spice aisle from various grocery stores. Plus, you can get them fresh by making teas or grate it into recipes. Various research have shown that ginger is very much effective in calming pregnancy-related nausea. It even helps in reducing and removing tummy upsets after surgery.

Certain studies show that ginger helps in cutting the severity of motion sickness and avoids the basic symptoms of body pain altogether. Furthermore, it helps in recovering from chemotherapy-induced vomiting and nausea along with the consumption of anti-nausea medicines. You can add this zingy spice into your diet and various dishes. Just add it to a stir-fried dish or smoothies. Even you can add it to the tea you drink.

Garlic for Boosting Heart Health

Everyone is familiar with garlic. This is the strongest smelling bulb that is commonly used in cooking. However, you might not know that eating this awesome spice will help in protecting your heart from various diseases like a heart attack.

When you begin to age, the arteries of your heart become to get hard. This is called atherosclerosis, and this happens when the fatty deposits of cholesterol and other substances start to get build up on the artery walls of your heart.

Now the surprising part is that various factors like high blood pressure, smoking, and high cholesterol can make it worse. As the build-up begins to increase over time, the arteries will get to become narrow. This will make one prone to various heart attacks and strokes. Many research and studies have related garlic consumption to keeping the human blood vessel flexible and that too among women. Also, studies show that eating garlic can reduce triglycerides and cholesterol.

Do you know garlic is the main ingredient in the Mediterranean diet? This is one of the best eating styles recommended by heart doctors. You can use it in various savoury dishes.

For flavouring veggies, you can add some fresh or powdered garlic along with olive oil and pepper. Also, you can even use it along with rosemary for creating tasty meat rub. Sprinkling it with soups and salad dressing will make it tastier.

Cayenne for Easing Pain

Commonly found in the Southwestern American cuisine, this is a particular kind of chili pepper which is even used in Mexican, Cajun, and Creole food. The cayenne pepper has a substance called capsaicin and this makes it spicy and is a good pain relief medicine.

Capsaicin helps in lowering and cutting down the pain signals that are sending to your brain. The resulting feeling is that you will not have or suffer from any kind of discomfort. This works great on pains related to diabetes-related nerve damage, diabetes, etc. Do you know that the capsaicin cream can be used on muscles and joint pains?

Various studies were conducted on finding the effects of eating cayenne pepper on animals. It was found that it would reduce internal pain like ulcers. Most people associate spicy food with stomach upset, still, capsaicin helps in lower the ulcer pangs that too by cutting down the growth of the ulcer-leading bacteria. Also, it helps in reducing the creation of excess stomach acid and the increasing flow of blood.

Whenever you want to heat your food, you can use this spice. It works great with stews, chili, soup, and even meat.

Black Pepper for Boosting Metabolism

By adding a small quantity of black pepper to your food will help in enhancing its flavours. Known as the king of spices, black pepper helps in promoting weight loss, cures cough and cold, improves digestion, and helps in boosting metabolism. Also, it helps in treating various skin problems too. Talking a glass of turmeric milk along with a pinch of black pepper is great for therapeutic.

Cumin for Curing Digestive Issues

Even though the cumin seed has a bitter taste, this has become one of the major ingredients of Middle Eastern cuisine. It helps in improving digestion, immunity, and treating all kinds of skin disorders, respiratory disorders, insomnia, bronchitis, asthma, etc.

In certain Indian states, cumin along with other light spices are used as a good measure for curing digestive problems.

Cilantro for Good Bowel Movements

Also called as coriander, this is filled with required health nutrients. Not only it is healthy when consumed fresh, adding coriander seeds to your daily food diet will make you healthier. Coriander seeds have good antioxidant properties and a high amount of dietary fibre. This helps in the advanced working of your liver and leads to good bowel movements.

Furthermore, they assist in generating good digestive compounds and juices. This helps in a good amount of digestion. If you are suffering from any kind of digestion, you can simply add some coriander seeds to your diet.

Cassia for Mind and Body Relaxation

Commonly sold in the form of cinnamon, this is a great spice that is excellent for cooking and providing a huge amount of benefits. It would really help in making your body run properly. Furthermore, it helps in boosting one’s immune system and maintains healthy digestion. Besides these features, they are known for being an effective antidepressant that helps in keeping your mind and body relaxed and even at peace.

Caraway Seed for Treatment of Cough

Caraway seeds are the best source of dietary fibre. They are commonly used in tea and are a great seasoning product. It is filled with various necessary vitamins like E, A, C, and various other kinds of B-complex vitamins. Also, they can remove all the dangerous free radicals from your body and is a great remedy for cough.

Bottom Line

Irrespective of whether you like savoury or sweet, spices are great in using any kind of diet. You get a great taste to your food and is really a healthy addition.


Saravavan Nadarajan (Vanan)

Vanan, fitness expert and leader at EzFit Singapore, specializes in holistic training—home-based, boot camps, and corporate fitness—with over a decade of industry experience.