Indian Spices and Their Health Benefits

Spices are the heart and the soul of Indian Cooking. Indian Spices are available in various colour and brings out very distinct taste in your everyday meal.

Indians are habitual to use certain spices in their daily cooking which add the zing in their dishes. Most of the people in Europe don’t really use many spices in their cuisine. We like to tell you that even a small pinch of these wonderful spices will give your dish much better taste and will also prove much beneficial to your health. The health benefits of these spices can be seen in many books written in the history which Indian call “Vedas”. In ancient times, when the trade between Europe and Asian Countries were done through “The Silk Route”, the spices were considered to be more precious than gold.

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Indian spices range starts from small mustard seeds to much expensive aromatic spices like cardamom (Elachi) and Saffron (Kesar). Today, even many scientist have started research on these spices and found about their health benefits which can be a key to healthier life. As I have mentioned about the importance of Indian Spices in your daily life, it’s time to give you the list of spices which will make your boring dish tastier and will also prove beneficial to your health.

Cinnamon (Dalchini):

Most of you are familiar with Cinnamon and might be using them occasionally in your cooking. Commonly called as Dalchini in India, this spice is added in Biryani and Pulao (Rice Dishes) to enhance the taste. Also, Indian use Cinnamon on daily basis as it’s good for heart and lower down cholesterol in body. Take ½ spoon of Cinnamon powder in hot water with some honey will help you lose weight and cleanse your digestive track. It also acts as a preservative in food and prevents growth of bacteria in food.

Asafoetida (Hing):

This pungent flavour spice is most commonly used in every Indian household. Many people use Hing for its very special flavor, but a pinch of Asafoetida can do miracle on your health. Regular intake of Hing can treat health disorders like asthma, bronchitis, cough and indigestion. For women, it’s very effective in treating excessive ministration and painful periods.

Cloves (Lavang):

Be it the curries, pulaos, biryanis and even in sweet dishes, Cloves are used extensively in Indian Cooking. Lavang, are nothing but a dried flower bud of clove tree. In ancient times, cloves were used to create medicines for many diseases. If you are suffering from tooth ache, take clove oil on cotton and put on the affected spot. You will find that the pain has reduced considerably. If, you are suffering from acne, put a drop of clove oil on acne and leave it. It will remove acne without leaving a scar. Most of the kids and even some adults suffer from vomiting while travelling to heights. Keep one clove in your mouth and it will suppress vomiting sensation effectively.

Turmeric (Haldi):

This is one of the spice which has a power to control diseases like cancer. Haldi or Turmeric is a yellow coloured spices used in Indian dishes to bring colour. But, this beautiful spices have amazing health benefits. Turmeric is rich in antioxidants and contains curcuminoids which prevents inflammation, cancer, ward of Alzheimer’s disease, revive damage liver, provide relief in joint pain and reduces cholesterol level in body. Just use 1 small spoon of turmeric in your daily diet to make your body stronger from inside. You can use in curry, soups, gravies and even in stews.

Cumin seeds (Jeera):

This is one spice which is used daily in every Indian kitchen. Roasted Cumin seeds gives a very rustic flavour to any food. A pinch is enough to enhance the taste of a curry, biryani and raita. Jeera or Cumin seeds are known for its medicinal properties. Regular consumption of cumin seeds improve digestion and fights flu. Due to its antiseptic properties, Jeera is heavily used in Indian Soups which are consumed when the person is sick. One can use Cumin Seeds or its powder is soups, rice dishes and gravies.

Black Pepper (Kali Mirch)

Black pepper is highly popular all over the world especially in the European countries that it is seldom associated with Indian cooking. However, these little peppercorns are originated from the original land of spices – India. It is widely used in cooking to add that extra punch alongside salt. Black pepper also contains a lot of medicinal uses and helps in digestion as well as counters congestion and an upset stomach. You can also apply black pepper topically on a cut in order to stop the bleeding.

Cardamom (Elaichi)

Cardamom or Elaichi are most commonly found in forests of India. They are highly used in Indian cooking and is the most integral ingredient in Indian tea. While adding cardamom in preparing dishes, you must break the outer shell in order to expose the tiny pods inside to get the maximum from this spice. Other than the taste enhancing properties, Cardamom also helps in the treatment of different digestive problems such as bloating gas, heartburn and loss of appetite. It also helps in preventing bad breath and is the most commonly used as a breath freshener in India. Although it is still unclear, Cardamom is said to have cancer fighting properties against non-melanoma skin cancer.

Coriander (Dhaniya)

Coriander or Dhaniya are widely used for cooking in India both as leaves as well as coriander seeds. The coriander leaves are used in different Indian foods such as chutneys or salads. Finely chopped coriander leaves are also used for seasoning purposes. Coriander seeds on the other hand are used to enhance the flavour, aroma and pungency in different dishes. Finely grounded coriander seeds are vital ingredient in Garam Masala preparation. Other than being widely used ingredient to enhance the taste of the food, coriander contains great medicinal properties as well. It helps as a remedy for aching joints and rheumatism. It can also be helpful in curing sore throat, various digestive problems, fever, allergies etc.

Fenugreek (Methi)

Fenugreek or Methi is widely used in Indian cuisines both in the form of green leafy vegetable as well as seeds for seasoning and preparing Masalas respectively. It is highly known for its medicinal properties and helps prevent various different diseases. It helps in controlling cholesterol as well as aids in the treatment of diabetes. It is also known to be increasing breast milk in mothers if they consume Fenugreek seed tea or sweet fudge on a regular basis.

Nutmeg (Jaiphal)

Nutmeg or Jaiphal (as it is popularly called in India) is usually utilised in powdered form to garnish dishes as well as in preparing Garam Masala. Nutmeg is used in both sweet dishes as well as savoury dishes such as Mughlai cuisines. Containing good amount of medicinal properties, Nutmeg is also given to infants adding small portions as medicine. It is also helpful in the treatment of asthma and several heart disorders. Nutmeg also prevents bad breath.

Saffron (Zaffran/Kesar)

Saffron or Kesar is a multi-purpose Indian spice which is used both in cooking as well as in beauty products. It is mainly used in sweet dishes in order to add colour. It also has good medicinal properties that help cope with different skin diseases. It also helps in curing cough and cold as well as a good remedy for asthma.

The list of Indian spices is endless. Above mentioned are just a few of them that are widely used in India as well as many different parts of the world. If you’re not using these spices in your dishes then you must now to take advantage of their taste enhancing properties as well as health benefits.

These are just few names from the spice world of India. Every Indian spice has its own unique health benefits and may be this is the reason why Indians use more spices in their daily cooking. Hope, with this information, you also get some idea on using these above mentioned spices in your daily cooking and add more flavour to your dishes.

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