Monday, 21 May 2012

Herbs and Spices for your tastebuds and tummys!

We all add herbs and spices to our meals to add flavour. But how many of you are aware of the wide range of health benefits they provide? Here is a list of some commonly used herbs and spices and their health properties. What’s fascinating is that they all aid digestion. So add spices to your food and you will be helping your body digest it as well!

Cayenne: This spicy delight is commonly used  in many cultures to add flavour and a bit of a kick to the meal. Its main benefits are that it stimulates circulation so it is great for warming you up during winter! It also helps speed up your metabolism so can help prevent you putting on those extra winter kilos. It can also help with acute infections as well as aiding in digestion.
Cinnamon: Cinnamon has got to be my favourite spice due to its delicious flavour! It helps stabilise blood sugar levels so can help with conditions such as diabetes and insulin resistance. It is also great for digestion soothing the digestive tract as well as improving circulation.
Cloves: Cloves are great for digestive issues such as bloating, colic, nausea and even intestinal worms. They help stimulate the liver and fight microbes.
Dill: Apart from having a delicious flavour dill is great for calming the digestive system. It helps with colic, flatulence and is wonderful to sooth the gut after a meal.
Fennel: Fennel is also great for the digestive system. However, its hidden talent is in helping breast milk production in women struggling to lactate. It can help with irritable bowel syndrome, it fights microbes and also modulates the female reproductive system.
Garlic: Although not technically a herb or spice this fantastic bulb is so commonly used for its wonderful immune stimulating properties. It is antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, helps rid the body of worms and is an antioxidants. Its properties are strongest when it is used raw so try adding it to your cooking at the end rather than the beginning.
Ginger: Ginger is fantastic for nausea of any sort whether travelling sickness to morning sickness. It also helps with digestive pain and bloating. It aids circulation and helps in the recovery from colds and flu’s.
Oregano: This herb is a wonderful antifungal, antibacterial and antioxidant.
Peppermint: Apart from freshening your breath, peppermint will also help with your digestion after a meal. It helps with bloating and stomach pain, gall bladder issues, nausea and it is antimicrobial.
Rosemary: This herb typically used on roasts has a beautiful aromatic flavour. Not only does it enhance the flavour of your meal but it can actually help improve your memory and concentration levels.  It will also help with circulation, digestion, liver function and is an antioxidant.
Sage: Sage will also help with memory and digestions. It is also antimicrobial so will help fight infections specifically in the throat region.
Thyme: Apart from going perfectly with roast chicken, thyme is fantastic for treating any infections of the throat and chest. It will also help with digestion!
Turmeric: This spice of the month has some great health properties. It is anti-inflammatory helping conditions such as arthritis. It enhances liver detoxification, is an antioxidant and is thought to help prevent cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

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