1. Health & Lifestyle

The Most Common Indian Spices and their Incredible Health Benefits

M Kanika
M Kanika
Spices
Spices

Have you ever wondered why Indian Cuisines is so different from other Cuisines? And why each cuisine has its own unique taste and flavor?  This is because, each area including India have different food, environment staples, produce and culture, which have a marked effect on its cuisines as well. 

Indian food follows many ayurvedic principles, and uses fresh produce, which are easily available locally & compliments it with the spices to ensure that the food nourishes both - our body & mind. The Authentic Indian Food works as a fuel for body, when it is prepared with spices and consumed consciously. Spices are added not just for enhancing the flavor but also to ensure good health. 

Also Read: Why India is called the Land of Spice and Flavors

The spices are dried seed, root, bark, fruit or vegetative substance, which is primarily used for flavoring, preserving or coloring goods. Sometimes, spices are added to hide other flavors. It is distinguished from herbs, which are a part of leafy green plants and are also used for flavoring or garnishing.  

Many spices have the antimicrobial properties, and are commonly used in warm climate, where more infectious diseases are prevailing. Spices are also used as a religious ritual, medicinal, cosmetics or perfume production or as a vegetable.  

As Indians, we always ensure that the spices form a base of any dish and we are not satisfied with a dash of salt and a squeeze of lime, WE NEED SPICES. Always!  

Indian spices and their Benefits

Here are some of the most common Indian spices that are used in every kitchen along with their Health Benefits.   

Cumin 

Cumin is been used as a traditional medicine and is a rich source of iron. Cumin is rich in antioxidants, and has an anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shown that cumin can aid in digestion and help in reducing the food-borne infections. Some of the researches have suggested that cumin powder can also considered as a low-calorie diet and can help in reducing weight.  

Cumin is used in the popular South-Indian snack called “Murukku”. It is a deep-fried coils of rice flour & spices. This famous snack should enjoy in moderation, though as it is high in Fat and may lead to weight gain. 

Spices
Spices

Cardamon   

The ground cardamom is used in tea, curries and in rice as a flavor booster. A small amount of cardamom enhances the flavor of dish.  

This flavorful spice is fully loaded with health benefits and has been used in the traditional medicine for centuries. Some evidence shown that cardamom has antioxidant properties, it has the ability to produce compounds that can help in fighting cancer cells. 

Cardamom is used in Karanji (It is a small pastry and stuffed with grated coconut, sugar, nuts, poppy seeds and cardamom) and Mithai (it is an assortment of Indian sweets). 

Coriander 

Coriander is the seeds of a plant. Coriander seeds are used as spice and its leaves are often featured in Indian cooking for garnishing and enhancing flavors.

It has an anti-microbial & anti-fungal property, it also helps in lowering the blood sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. 

Coriander is used in many Indian food and snacks, the taste of coriander you can also experience in Aloo tikki. (It is an Indian version of Croquette).  

Cinnamon 

Cinnamon has an oily component, which is high in cinnamaldehyde. Cinnamaldehyde is a compound, many scientists believe that this is the compound, which is responsible for the powerful effect of cinnamon on health & metabolism. 

Studies have compared cinnamon with other spices and have put cinnamon at the top because of its high amount of antioxidants. The anti-inflammatory properties of cinnamon prevent the formation of free radicals and damages of the cells & nervous system, it is also helps in reducing cholesterol. 

Cinnamon is frequently used in Keema (It is an Indian spiced lamb) chicken dhansak (It is an Indian curry) and Namkeens (It is an Indian savory snack).

Spices
Spices

Turmeric 

This bright yellow spice gives a characteristic color to the Indian dishes. It is a relative of ginger root. Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, for being a flavor & color addictive in Indian dishes.  

Turmeric has been used in India, since many years as a spice and and as a medicinal herb. Researches have shown that turmeric contains compounds with medicinal properties. The Preliminary studies have found out that the curcuminoids from turmeric helps in reducing the number of heart attack patients after bypass surgery. 

Turmeric is also used as the dietary supplement to treat inflammatory arthritis, as well as skin, stomach. Liver and gall bladder problems.  

Ginger 

Many researches have shown that ginger have hundreds of compounds and metabolites, some of them may contribute to the health and healing.  

It’s been associated with reducing pain, nausea and inflammation. It is known for enhancing the digestion of food. 

Ginger is considered to be as an essential ingredient in the Indian cuisine, it can be found in dishes like Chickpea stew, Aloo gobi (It is a dish of potatoes & cauliflower), Matar paneer (It is a dish of cheese & peas), Dal makhni (It is a dish cooked with using lentils and butter) and many more. 

Kind Reminder: While there are many Health Benefits of spices in Indian cuisines, these foods especially snacks might have high fat or sugar content. So, be mindful & always consume everything in Moderation! 

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