We Indians ensure that spices form the base of any dish. Don’t we all? We are not satisfied with just a dash of salt and a squeeze of lime, we need the rich blend of spices!
It is no secret, that Indian spices have been the soul of global cuisine since time immemorial. Indians have been very well versed with the culinary and medicinal applications of spices much before the rest of the world.
It was the lure of these spices has led to various historic wars and conquests but still, the country continues its reign as the Spice Bowl of the World.
Indian cuisine is colorful, flavorful, and the spices are not only tasty, they also come with a plethora of health benefits! Indian spices can be used in both sweet as well as savory dishes to leave your taste buds asking for more.
So come let’s take a peer into the health benefits of some of these Indian spices, which for the longest time have been used to make food more delectable yet healthy.
1. Black Pepper
A spice that not many people associate with Indian cooking. However, these little peppercorns have their most ancient roots in India. Black pepper aids in digestion, congestion, an upset stomach and can also help to stop the bleeding on a cut when applied topically. It is also antibacterial in nature, reduces blood pressure and contains iron that is beneficial for the body.
This bright orange spice is not only great for adding color to your dish, the health benefits are immense. For thousands of years, Ayurvedic medicine has used turmeric for a variety of health reasons. Turmeric aids in helping to treat arthritis, heartburn, stomach pain, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, and loss of appetite. It is also used as a topical treatment for skin inflammation, infected wounds, and ringworm.
Known to us as Dalchini in India, cinnamon is used in its ground, powder, sticks or oil form. This bark-like spice helps to regulate treatment for people with type 2 diabetes. It has astringent, stimulant and carminative properties and can check nausea and vomiting. Cinnamon is also an anti-inflammatory, improves cardiovascular health, increases metabolic rate, helps control and regulate blood sugar, and has anti-microbial effects.
This little bud that resembles a tiny flower is used not only in Indian cuisines, but in African and Middle Eastern as well. Indian healers have used the oils, flower buds, and stems from the plant in an array of medicine. Clove oil can also help with pain when applied topically, and can help with stomach issues like gas, diarrhea, nausea and upset stomach. It is also used in toothpastes, soaps, and perfumes.
It is one of the most useful Indian spices which is also strong in nature. The pungent flavor present in this spice has wonderful health benefits. It is used in treating most common problems of the stomach like gas, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating, intestinal worm infection, and flatulence can all be treated with this magical ingredient. It has both anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties that help in alleviating these kinds of health issues. Uses of Asafoetida for weight loss are quite common too.
Ginger is a perennial herb native to India and China, often referred to as a root, ginger is actually a stem which grows underground. Indians have particularly used ginger in their culinary preparations for about 4000 years, but that’s not all! According to Ayurveda especially, the multiple uses of ginger, makes the tuber on of the most significant herbs in the ancient practice. Ginger helps to relieve common colds. It is also most commonly known for its quick relieving effects on heartburn, nausea, upset stomach, diarrhoea, motion and morning sickness. It has been found to be a beneficial anti-inflammatory, due to its high levels of gingerol, making it a great natural remedy for headaches, minor body aches and even some cases of arthritis.
7. Mustard seeds
Mustard seeds have been highly prized culinary oil-seeds being in use since earlier times in India. Generally perceived as health benefiting spice, mustard seeds are indeed very rich in phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants. Mustard seeds and its oil has traditionally been used to relieve muscle pain, rheumatism and arthritic pain. Its ground seeds act as a laxative, stimulant to the gastric mucosa and increase intestinal secretion.
Saffron, also known as kesar in India, is one of the most expensive spices, but the health benefits of saffron is what makes it even more special. Saffron has the ability to treat depression, prevents loss of vision, and improves memory. The stigma of the flower can provide relief from digestive issues with the help of its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-depressant properties. In medicine, saffron is used in fevers, melancholia, and enlargement of liver and spleen. In Ayurvedic medicine it is used to heal arthritis, impotence and infertility. The benefits and medicinal properties of this highly priced spice, make it a valuable culinary ingredient worldwide.
We always tend to get swayed by our taste buds. And what can be a better option than luring our taste buds with the spark of herbs and spices with our healthy Indian food? Are you ready to devour one of the most wholesome foods in the world yet?