20 of the Healthiest Spices in the World - Part 1

20 of the Healthiest Spices in the World - Part 1

Spices and herbs are often dismissed as supporting actors when it comes to healthy eating, but many deserve a lot more credit for the nutrients they provide. Although they are only consumed in small amounts, they contain more antioxidants and other healthy substances than meets the eye. In fact, there are no foods that contain more antioxidants than spices!

If you want to round out your healthy lifestyle, stock up on the following herbs and spices and use them liberally in your cooking.

The following spices can help with everything from reducing inflammation to lowering your blood pressure ...

1. Turmeric

Turmeric has a distinctive taste and is used in many Indian-style curries. It has a tart, slightly bitter taste and is often combined with cumin, cardamom and other spices to round off the bitterness.

Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties and is often used in treating arthritis as well as calming the digestive system. Turmeric is most commonly used in curries and chutneys and is particularly great when combined with black pepper. The substances contained in pepper dramatically increase the absorption of the active ingredients of turmeric in the intestines!

2. Rosemary

Rosemary may make you think of pine as it has a similar flavour and scent. It also has slight minty notes. Rosemary is often used to flavour chicken and potatoes. Rosemary supports the immune system as well resilient and could improve blood flow and thus brain function. If you have stomach problems, you can also try using rosemary to help calm your digestive system.

3. Basil

The peppery taste of fresh basil is hard to beat! Pesto is a great way to add delicious basil flavour to many dishes. Basil has anti-inflammatory properties and could help promote cardiovascular health. As if that weren't enough, basil also has an antibacterial effect. Consider growing your own basil to enjoy the best, most fresh flavour.

4. Cumin

Most people associate cumin with tacos because it is the main ingredient in many taco seasonings. Try it on fried potatoes or any other dish that you'd like to have a hearty flavour.

Ground cumin deserves a spot on your spice rack not only for its taste but also for its health benefits. Cumin can have a positive effect on digestion and also contains lots of nutrients. Diabetics should speak to their doctors regarding cumin as it could be helpful. Cumin also provides essential minerals like phosphorus, thiamine, and potassium that your body needs every day.

5. Nutmeg

Nutmeg has a nutty flavour but truly has its own distinct taste. It is often used for baking, in desserts, in savoury sauces or on cocktails. Nutmeg has detoxifying properties, which is why it is used as an ingredient in many detox drinks. Nutmeg can also be used as a sleep aid and a natural remedy for many everyday digestive problems.

Important note: don't overdo it with the nutmeg as too much nutmeg could have a poisonous effect.

6. Saffron

Saffron has a difficult taste to describe but has slight honey notes. Just don't overdo it as too much saffron can taste bitter. Saffron extract has more health benefits than the spice alone, but the spice itself also has healthy properties. Saffron could have a positive effect on depression and menstrual cramps.

7. Ginseng

Ginseng is often consumed pure for its health benefits, mostly in the form of supplements. It is not often used as a spice. Ginseng is frequently used in traditional Asian medicine and there is a lot of clinical research that supports its healthy effect. It is frequently said to benefit the immune system as well as concentration.

8. Cardamom

Cardamom has its own unique flavour and is frequently used in Indian food. It also tastes great in baked goods or in coffee. Perhaps the most important reason to eat more cardamom is for its digestive benefits; so it can help with symptoms such as indigestion, upset stomach and heartburn. Cardamom also has antioxidant properties that help your body fight free radicals. Cardamom is also said to have a positive effect on blood pressure as it is high in fibre and is also a diuretic, two factors that can help lower blood pressure.

9. Curry

Curry spice blends are extremely popular, but few people know that these blends are also a source of many healthy nutrients and antioxidants. No wonder, as curry is a mixture of many different spices, all of which have positive properties. Many of the spices frequently used in curry blends can be found on this list!

Curry powder is said to have anti-inflammatory effects and can be used in many different dishes. Find your favourite blend today!

10. Thyme

Thyme gives food an earthy taste but has a mild flavour. It is often used in meatloaf and minced meat dishes as well as soups and stews.

Thyme has strong antioxidant properties. It's important to get a good amount of antioxidants from a variety of foods every day because there are tons of different antioxidants and the more different types you consume, the better. This is where thyme can help! Thyme also has antimicrobial properties.

These were ten of the healthiest spices in the world. Treat your taste buds to great flavour and your body to healthy nutrients! Enjoy!