Traditional Indian food is simple, wholesome, nutritious, satisfying and well balanced. Indian cuisine is full of colour, flavors and texture. A typical Indian meal has a variety of pulses, grains and vegetables thrown in and topped with the magical ingredients called spices. As against the west which uses the dynamic duo of salt and pepper for seasoning, Indian food has plenty of spices that give it its distinct taste, flavour and character. But spices in food play a much bigger role than just enhancing taste.
To begin with, many spices are known to improve digestion of food. That’s because certain spices can reduce inflammation, stimulate digestive fire, and prevent flatulence .For instance black pepper can help increase the flow of saliva and gastric juices. Cardamom helps boost your digestive fire and removes flatulence. Coriander can relax the digestive muscles that cause discomfort from disorders such as Irritable bowel syndrome.
Spices can prevent cancer: Curcumin the active ingredient in Turmeric can block the growth of certain kinds of tumors. Cardamom has shown to have cancer fighting effects in skin cancers, Garlic is the most powerful anti-cancer spice. Garlic can lower the risk of developing all types of cancers especially colon, stomach, intestinal, and prostate cancer. Flax seeds have an antioxidant effect and block or suppress cancerous changes. Flax is also high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to protect against colon cancer and heart disease.
Spices can heal:Cinnamon can be used as an expectorant, to reduce congestion and phlegm in the lungs, and dry up running noses. Garlic has antibacterial and antifungal properties and can help with some sinus infections, and common cold. Clove oil has a numbing effect in addition to bacteria-fighting powers and so can relieve tooth ache and help fight bacterial infection. Turmeric with its antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties is used for pain relief and wound healing.
Spices can help control blood sugar : Fenugreek (methi seeds) are not only a source of iron but are high in soluble fibre, which helps lower blood sugar by slowing down digestion and absorption of carbohydrates.Cinnamon has the ability to improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes.
And the best news!!Spices can play a big role in weight management:
A large number of spices such as garlic, turmeric, chilli powder, fenugreek, cumin seeds and mustard seeds trigger metabolism and facilitate the conversion of carbohydrates and fat to energy hence assisting in weight loss. Herbs and spices are a great way to add flavor to food without the extra fat, calories, sodium or cholesterol. So you can substitute your dressing, butter, cheese and mayo with spices to add zing to food and cut down on the extra calories and fat.
Herbs and spices can transform dull, bland food into a delicious dish, need no cooking or preparation and can make you leaner, healthier and improve your immunity…so go ahead explore the aromatic world of spices.