With the increased awareness of immunity-boosting food habits, the general public has realised that many Indian spices are immunity boosters that can be incorporated into our regular diet to meet the need of the hour in light of the current pandemic. Spices are used in almost every Indian recipe, from turmeric to black pepper to cumin seeds, and so on.
When it comes to corporate society, there is a higher demand for immunity-boosting foods. At many workplaces, the age-old Kadha, which is made with Tulsi, cinnamon, and other herbs and spices, is replacing different forms of tea and coffee.
Beyond the taste factor, it's interesting to learn how spices contribute to our nutritional intake. Let's take a look at some of India's most common spices and their health benefits. Spices' value, whether as medicine or food, cannot be overstated.
Spices in Food
Spices enhance the natural flavour of foods. They were vital in ancient times, and we can't imagine life without them now. They are available in a variety of flavours and aromas.
They're basically food enhancers that offer foods a distinct flavour and aroma. To make tea, some spices are boiled in sugar.
Curry is the most well-known food made from a variety of spices.
Curry is a common spice for seasoning dairy and poultry products.
Ginger, turmeric, fennel, cumin, fenugreek, coriander, and nutmeg are among the curry's main ingredients. It adds flavour to meats, seafood, vegetables, and soups.
Spices as Medicine
The medical significance of all spices is unknown. Nevertheless, we know for a fact that spices can be used to treat a variety of illnesses, including cancer, fever, malaria, stomach upset, nausea, and many others. For example, nutmeg is used to treat nausea and digestive problems. Spices have long been recognised for their medicinal properties in dental and skin care.
When it comes to ancient medicine, herbs have long been used to treat a variety of illnesses before the advent of modern medicine. Spices like oregano, for example, help in the battle against insulin resistance. Turmeric and clove will also help to reduce blood sugar levels.
Industrial Uses of Spices
Spices may also be used as natural preservatives in food. Cinnamon is a natural preservative that can quickly substitute synthetic preservatives that are harmful to human health. They've been used to flavour drugs in the pharmaceutical industry.
Clove is a method for producing Clove oil, which is very useful in the pharmaceutical industry. Saffron, one of the world's most common spices, adds to the point that spices were as important in ancient times as crude oil is nowadays.
Importance of Indian spices
Turmeric is a traditional go-to ingredient for a variety of reasons, including the presence of bioactive compounds with potent medicinal properties.
Curcumin, the key active ingredient in turmeric, has potent anti-inflammatory properties as well as being a strong antioxidant.
As a result, turmeric has a variety of health benefits, including improving immunity, reducing cholesterol, preventing cancer, and alleviating arthritis symptoms.
Cinnamon is high in antioxidants and healing properties and anti-inflammatory effects and prebiotic properties that encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria.
Cinnamon, one of the most versatile ingredients, can be used in a variety of dishes and has recently become more common in the desserts such as cakes and ice creams.
Cardamom is a sweet-smelling seed that comes from a ginger-like plant that grows in Southern India. Cardamom seeds can be chewed to clean your teeth.
Cardamom is the third most expensive spice in the world. It has a wide range of culinary applications, especially in Arab countries.
Its use is also useful in the preparation of coffee. Cardamom is used to make black tea in India. The leaves are boiled in milk for a few minutes before being served with sugar.
Fenugreek seeds (yellow) are used as a spice, and the leaves are used as a herb. Fenugreek is used to treat a variety of health problems, including high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides.
Fenugreek contains compounds that delay digestion and increase insulin production in the body. In Africa, fenugreek is used to treat malaria and feverish conditions. Fenugreek's constituents are almost identical to those of Cod Liver Oil.
The most expensive spice in the world is saffron (crocus Sativus Linnaeus). This orange-yellow flower is the most valuable spice on the planet. There are only three threads in each saffron flower. S
affron has a superior flavour and aroma, and it is a commonly used and common spice all over the world. Aside from being used as a seasoning, it's also used to make dyes, perfumes, and medicines.
Crocin is responsible for the medicinal effects of saffron. Saffron's medicinal and culinary value remains the same, whether in filament or powder.
It is also known as Ajwain. Carom seeds are often masticated for medicinal purposes. Though carom seeds are partially bitter in taste, it provides a whole host of health benefits.
It also promotes digestion, helps in stomach ache and relieves tooth pain. These seeds are high in calcium, proteins and fibre as well. Half tablespoon of carom seeds with water relieves abdominal pain during menstruation.
Black cumin seed oil helps in averting asthma, allergies, and other respiratory issues. It also contains antioxidants, beneficial acids and b-vitamins which are helpful in balancing the immune system.
Moreover, black cumin has been found superior to each alternative natural remedy when used for autoimmune disorders.
Mustard is spicy in flavour. It helps in reducing pain, stimulates hunger and appeases symptoms of arthritis. According to a study adding mustard oil to a regular diet could prove to be favourable to your heart health.
Being a rich source of MUFA, it reduces bad cholesterol in the body, keeps a check on blood fat levels and helps in its circulation.
Mustard oil is rich in vitamin E, an important nutrient for the skin. Therefore, when applied to the skin, it reduces fine lines and wrinkles, and also acts as a sunscreen.
For centuries, we have been fortunate to have these spices abundantly in our diet. We use turmeric, ginger, and garlic in everything we cook. These spices help in the development of antibodies and the formation of cells that can battle viruses during pandemics.