Spice Health Tips

NHC FOODS LTD SPICE HEALTH TIPS

It’s hard to believe, but the spices that add such wonderful flavor and fragrance to your baked pies, muffins, cookies and cakes can also add unique medicinal value to your health. Scientific evidence has shown, through clinical trials and studies, that a few of your favorite ingredients can also have great impact on your health and well-being.

CINNAMON
Cinnamon is one of the most popular and well known spices in the world. It also has unusually potent healing abilities that come from the substances found in the essential oils in its bark. A study reported by the journal Diabetes Care concluded that taking just a half teaspoon of cinnamon every day radically reduces the level of blood sugar in people with Type II diabetes, as well as decreasing their triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels.
Other health benefits associated with cinnamon include:
1) Aiding digestion
2) Relieving stiffness of muscles and joints
3) Killing harmful bacteria such as E. coli
4) Relieving menstrual cramps
5) Relieving arthritic pain
6) Preventing urinary tract infections
7) Relieving congestion
8) Increasing circulation
9) Increasing brain activity
10)  Preventing tooth decay and gum disease
11)  Toning of tissues

NUTMEG
The mention of nutmeg usually conjures up images of holiday dishes and aromas. But nutmeg has more to offer all year round than just spicing up your holiday season. Nutmeg, a native spice of the Moluccas Islands in the South Pacific, has been known to have the following health benefits:
1) Lowers blood pressure
2) Soothes digestive upset
3) Eases joint pain and inflammation
4) Provides relief from diarrhea
5) Promotes concentration
6) Stimulates the cardiovascular system
7) Relieves pain from tooth aches
8) Relieves nausea
9) Relieves insomnia
10) Calms muscle spasms and anxiety
11) Helps remove toxins from the liver

CLOVES

Cloves are used frequently in gingerbread cookie, pumpkin pie, and even chili recipes for added warmth, sweetness and fragrance. But the active component in cloves volatile oils, eugenol, have made them the subject of numerous studies.
The results of these health studies revealed the following ways in which cloves are helpful:
1) Acts as a mild anesthetic
2) Acts as an anti-bacterial agent
3) Reduces inflammatory symptoms
4) Relieves symptoms associated with asthma
5) Relieves symptoms of rheumatism and arthritis
6) Eliminates intestinal parasites
7) Contains excellent sources of dietary fiber
8) Contains excellent sources of Vitamin C
9) Contains excellent sources of omega-3 fatty acids
10) Contains good sources of Calcium
11) May stimulate creativity and mental focus
12) Prevents toxicity from environmental pollutants

As you can see, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves have many therapeutic effects and add significant value to a healthy diet. However, it’s recommended that they not be eaten every day or you run the risk of developing an allergy to them. Also, spices are not necessarily a “cure” for disease, but are rather an adjunct to a healthy lifestyle.

PEPPERS

All peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C. Green bell peppers contain as much as two times of vitamin C as oranges while red or yellow pepper pack three or four times the daily value of vitamin C.

Besides power-packed with vitamin C, bell peppers also provide vitamin B6, phytochemicals such as lycopene and beta-carotene (the precursor for vitamin A), folate, potassium and plenty of fiber. Chilly peppers contain an additional substance, called capsaicin which has many health benefits:

1) Effective treatment and natural pain relief for inflammation such as arthritis, psoriasis, diabetic neuropathy.
2) Reduce risk of heart attack and stroke as it helps to reduce cholesterol levels and formation of blood clots.
3) Clear blocked nose and congested lungs.
4) Prevent prostate cancer by inhibiting growth of cancerous cells? Prevent stomach ulcers by killing bacteria in the stomach and stimulate more protective stomach juices.
5) Help to lose weight as it speeds up the body’s metabolism rate, suppresses appetite and cravings for sweet foods.
6) Lower risk of Type 2 diabetes by controlling the blood sugar.

TURMERIC

Turmeric is one of nature’s most powerful healers. The active ingredient in turmeric is cur cumin. Turmeric has been used for over 2500 years in India, where it was most likely first used as a dye. The medicinal properties of this spice have been slowly revealing themselves over the centuries. Long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, recent research has revealed that turmeric is a natural wonder, proving beneficial in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease.

Here are 20 reasons to add turmeric to your diet:

1. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.

2. When combined with cauliflower, it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.

3. Prevented breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice.

4. May prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to commit suicide.

5. Reduces the risk of childhood leukemia.

6. Is a natural liver detoxifier.

7. May prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.

8. May prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.

9. It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.

10. Has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice.

11. Is a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor.

12. May aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.

13. Has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression.

14. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

15. Boosts the effects of chemo drug paclitaxel and reduces its side effects.

16. Promising studies are underway on the effects of turmeric on pancreatic cancer.

17. Studies are ongoing in the positive effects of turmeric on multiple myeloma.

18. Has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.

19. Speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.

20. May help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.

Contraindications: Turmeric should not be used by people with gallstones or bile obstruction. Though turmeric is often used by pregnant women, it is important to consult with a doctor before doing so as turmeric can be a uterine stimulant.

Bay Leaf:

Bay leaves contain compounds called parthenolides which have been helpful for the treatment of migraines, which could explain its traditional use as a natural headache remedy. They also contain eugenol, a compound with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, explaining their long-use in herbal cold remedies.

Caraway Seed:
Another spice considered to have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects, caraway has been used for cold relief, toothaches, and to boost immune function. It also aids digestion, settling the stomach, and relieves bloating.

Cardamom:
This versatile spice is included in a wide range of dishes, from Indian curries to desserts and teas. It’s believed to counteract stomach acidity, stimulate appetite, ease nausea, cure bad breath, and relieve gas and bloating. It’s referred to as the “Queen of All Spices” it contains potent antioxidants and is often included in liver detox. Cardamom has also been used as both an aphrodisiac and to fight obesity. Yet more study needs to be done on how well it may aid weight loss.

Coriander:
The seeds of the cilantro plant, coriander contains antioxidants that help keep animal fats from becoming rancid, and other compounds with antibacterial qualities. It also helps soothe the stomach and relieve bloating. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and coriander oil is a natural remedy for arthritis relief.

Cumin:
As a traditional herbal remedy its uses include: diuretic (helps the body shed water), relieve diarrhea and bowel spasms, relieve morning sickness, and ease carpal tunnel syndrome.

Fennel Seed:
Not only loaded with powerful antioxidants fennel also contains fiber, foliate, potassium, and vitamin C. It is believed to boost the immune system, reduce blood pressure, and aid in detoxification of the body. It contains compounds that help relieve smooth muscle spasms, which in effect, helps ease abdominal cramping and spasms. Fennel is also a mild appetite suppressant.

Fenugreek:
Like many of the other herbs and spices used in Indian cooking, the ground seeds of fenugreek have anti-inflammatory properties and aid digestion. Fenugreekine, a chemical found in these seeds, are also believed to reduce blood sugar levels and have been used as natural supplement for use with insulin. Fenugreek is also a potent expectorant, and is used for natural remedies to ease congestion, allergies, and bronchitis.

Ginger:
Ginger is packed with many active compounds, including gingerols, zingibain, bisabolenel, oleoresins, zingiberole, just to list a few. Its many proven uses: naturally treat nausea from morning sickness, treat nausea related to motion sickness (found to be more effective than Dramamine, without the side-effects), anti-inflammatory properties help ease muscle and joint pain. It also has a diaphoretic property (causes sweating) and so is used to cleanse and detoxify the body, stimulate circulation, and ease bronchitis and congestion.

Curry Powder 

Curry powder is a mixture of many herbs and spices, the combination of spices used in making curry powder is varies in different countries and regions, but the one ingredient that is present to all mixture is ” turmeric.” Curcumin is the substance that gives the spice turmeric its yellow color and is also responsible, at least in part, for some of the health benefits of curried dishes.

  1. Curry powder can help reduce inflammation of the joints; this is due to the presence of curcumin, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.
  2. Curry’s curcumin may help deactivate genes that can trigger the onset and spread of breast cancer. Other studies suggest that curcumin may be effective in slowing the progression of prostate and colorectal cancers.
  3. Curry’s curcumin have some positive effect in stabilizing pancreatic cancer.
  4. Curry’s curcumin may help fight skin cancer. Tests in laboratory show that curcumin made melanoma skin cancer cells more likely to self-destruct.
  5. Curry powder may help prevent Alzheimers; this is again due to the presence of curcumin that act to clear the brain of protein deposit that is thought to cause Alzheimer’s.
  6. Curry can help improve memory. A study conducted on older men who ate more dishes containing curry performed better in memory tests.
  7. Curry’s curcumin is effective in the treatment of several sexually transmitted diseases, including gonorrhea and chlamydia.

Garlic

Garlic is an anti-viral and anti-bacterial agent due to its high sulphur content. Besides its use as garlic mashed potato, garlic bread, garlic sauce, roasted garlic, etc., it has health benefits to lower cholesterol, beauty & skin care, high blood pressure, the common cold, cancer and other diseases. It is used in many recipes to improve taste and flavor, for example, garlic chutney.

Raw garlic is good for  high blood pressure and to lower the blood cholesterol level, and reducing cramps, lowering blood sugar and muscular spasm.Garlic is grown in the garden or in pots.

Oregano

Health Benefits: Two of oregano’s compounds, thymol and carvacrol,  have  potent antibacterial properties. In fact, a study in Mexico found that oregano was more effective against an amoeba than a common prescription drug called tinidazol. Oregano is also a potent antioxidant, rich in phytonutrients. On a per gram basis, fresh oregano has:

  1. 42 times more antioxidant activity than apples
  2. 30 times more than potatoes
  3. 12 times more than oranges
  4. 4 times more than blueberries

Sage

Health Benefits: Sage is an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It contains flavonoids, phenolic acids and oxygen-handling enzymes, all of which give it a unique ability to prevent oxygen-based damage to cells. Sage may be useful in fighting rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions, bronchial asthma and atherosclerosis.

Sage also appears to promote better brain function. A study in the June 2003 Pharmacological Biochemical Behavior found that people given sage essential oil extracts had significantly improved recall abilities compared to those given a placebo.

Parsley

Health Benefits: Chief among parsley’s beneficial properties is its ability to fight cancer. Animal studies have shown that it can inhibit tumor formation, particularly in the lungs. It’s also known to neutralize carcinogens including those found in cigarette smoke and charcoal grill smoke.

Parsley is also a rich source of antioxidants and heart-protective nutrients including vitamin C, beta-carotene and folic acid

Ajwain

Ajwain is a herb also known as Bishops Weed. This beneficial herb is used in culinary process as spice as well as a major ingredient of different kind of medicines. Ajwain seeds are small in size but taste hot, penchant and bitter. It acts as good appetizer, laxative and stomachic. It is used as effective remedy in managing ailments like vomiting, mouth diseases, pile, treatment of ascites, abdominal tumor, abdominal pain etc.Here are the few health benefits of Ajwain:

  1. Ajwain is very useful in alleviating spasmodic pains of the stomach and intestines, in adults as well as children. Any colicky pain due to flatulence (gas), indigestion and infections in the intestines can easily be relieved by taking one teaspoonful of Ajwain along with 2-3 pinches of common salt in warm water.
  2. In an acute attack of common cold or migraine headache, put Ajwain powder in a thin cloth and smell this frequently. It gives tremendous symptomatic relief according to some Ayurvedic experts.
  3. Ajwain is a very good digestive. It can be taken with buttermilk to alleviate digestion related problems. It is a good anti-acidic agent.
  4. If you have chronic bronchitis and asthma, take the mixture of Ajwain and jaggery, heat it to make a paste and take 2 teaspoonfuls twice a day. However, diabetics should not take this preparation because of the sugar content. It helps to bring out the mucus easily and alleviates chronic bronchitis and asthma to great extent. It also helps in chronic cold.
  5. If people who consume excessive alcohol develop discomfort in the stomach, taking Ajwain twice a day, will be very useful. It will also reduce the craving and desire for alcohol.
  6. Taking one teaspoon of Ajwain with hot water stimulates the heart and relieves heartache.
  7. Ajwain oil can help in relieving ear ache with just one or two drops in the ear.
  8. Ajwain oil can also be used to massage legs and knees to get relief from pain from arthritis. It is beneficial in treatment of rheumatic and neuralgic pain.
  9. The smoke of burning Ajwain seeds is effective in treating toothache. Gargle with lukewarm water prepared by boiling of Ajwain and little salt two to three times a day, it cures tooth pain.
  10. Ajwain is very effective in curing cough. Drinking hot water after chewing little Ajwain cures cough. Chewing betel leaf with Ajwain at night before sleeping controls and cures dry coughing.
  11. A tablespoon of crushed Ajwain tied up in a small cloth bundle can be used for inhalation. It also relieves nasal congestion while sleeping when placed near the pillow.
  12. A person suffering from influenza should drink the boiled water with 3gms of Ajwain and 3gms of Cinnamon bark for 3 days, thrice a day. This helps curing influenza to a great extent.

MUSTARD

Mustard appears under 3 different forms: white mustard, black mustard and brown mustard. White mustard (the one most often used in alimentation) has round shaped, white-yellowish coloured seeds which are used to prepare mustard paste. Black mustard with its small flowers and little round seeds has a strong pungent taste. Brown mustard, by appearance, is similar to the black one; however, it is much spicier than the white mustard but less spicy than the black one.

The white seeded mustard has milder effects, being a source of vegetal oil and an excellent source of proteins, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Combining it with warm water has the consequence of increasing arterial pressure and stimulating blood circulation. At the same time, mustard has anti-inflammatory and laxative properties.

Mustard can be used in treating a variety of afflictions such as headaches, cold and cough (mustard baths are recommended); respiratory problems, lack of appetite (can be alleviated through consuming black mustard seeds dissolved into a glass of milk, administered 15 minutes before a meal). Asthma can be treated by applying black mustard flour poultice on the chest area. The effects of rheumatic pains and neuralgias are also decreased through the use of general baths.