Spice up your taste buds with healthy spices in your diet!
Spices not only just excite your taste buds but are composed of an impressive list of phyto-nutrients, essential oils, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that are essential for overall wellness. Spices have been integral part part of our food since centuries, and today, even become more relevent for us.
Here are 6-10 of the world's healthiest herbs and spices, supported by research.
6. Holy Basil Helps Fight Infections and Boosts Immunity
Not to be confused with regular basil or thai basil, holy basil is considered a sacred herb in India.
Studies show that holy basil can inhibit the growth of a range of bacteria, yeasts and molds.
One small study also found that it can boost function of the immune system by increasing certain immune cells in the blood.
Holy basil is also linked to reduced blood sugar levels before and after meals, as well as treating anxiety and anxiety-related depression.
However, these studies were quite small, and more research is needed before any recommendations can be made.
7. Cayenne Pepper Contains Capsaicin, Which Helps Reduce Appetite and May Have Anti-Cancer Properties
Cayenne pepper is a type of chili pepper used to prepare spicy dishes.
The active ingredient in it is called capsaicin, which has been shown to reduce appetite and increase fat burning in many studies. For this reason, it is a common ingredient in many commercial weight loss supplements.
One study found that adding 1 gram of red pepper to meals reduced appetite and increased fat burning in people who did not regularly eat peppers.
However, there was no effect in people who were accustomed to eating spicy food, indicating that a tolerance to the effects can build up.
Some animal studies have also found capsaicin to combat certain forms of cancer, including lung, liver and prostate cancer. Of course, these observed anti-cancer effects are far from being proven in humans.
Bottom Line: Cayenne pepper is very rich in a substance called capsaicin, which reduces appetite and boosts fat burning. It has also shown anti-cancer potential in animal studies.
8. Ginger Can Treat Nausea and Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Ginger is a popular spice used in several forms of alternative medicine.
Studies have consistently shown that 1 gram or more of ginger can successfully treat nausea.
This includes nausea caused by morning sickness, chemotherapy and sea sickness.
Ginger also appears to have strong anti-inflammatory properties, and can help with pain management.
One study in subjects at risk for colon cancer found that 2 grams of ginger extract per day decreased markers for colon inflammation in the same way as aspirin.
Other research found that a mixture of ginger, cinnamon, mastic, and sesame oil decreased pain and stiffness experienced by those with osteoarthritis. It had a similar effectiveness as treatment with aspirin or ibuprofen.
Bottom Line: 1 gram of ginger appears to be an effective treatment for many types of nausea. It is also anti-inflammatory, and can help reduce pain.
9. Fenugreek Improves Blood Sugar Control
Fenugreek was commonly used in Ayurveda, particularly to enhance libido and masculinity.
While its effects on testosterone levels remain inconclusive, fenugreek does seem to have beneficial effects on blood sugar.
It contains the plant protein 4-hydroxyisoleucine, which can improve the function of the hormone insulin.
Many human studies have shown that at least 1 gram of fenugreek extract per day can lower blood sugar levels, particularly in diabetics
Bottom Line: Fenugreek has been shown to improve the function of insulin, leading to significant reductions in blood sugar levels.
10. Rosemary Can Help Prevent Allergies and Nasal Congestion
The active ingredient in rosemary is called rosmarnic acid.
This substance has been shown to suppress allergic responses and nasal congestion.
In a study with 29 individuals, both 50 and 200 mg doses of Rosmarinic acid were shown to suppress allergy symptoms.
The number of immune cells in nasal mucus also decreased, with reduced congestion.
Bottom Line: Rosmarinic acid has anti-inflammatory effects that appear to suppress allergy symptoms and reduce nasal congestion.
The content of this blog should not be substituted for medical advice to treat or manage any health condition.