Spices With Surprising Health Benefits
Traditionally, cumin was added to foods to aid in digestion and the absorption of nutrients. Recently, cumin has been shown to have antibacterial qualities, especially associated with the digestive tract.
Ginger is often recommended for nausea and an upset stomach, especially associated with pregnancy. It has also shown anti-inflammatory properties.
As common as we find it today, black pepper was one of the most sought-after and expensive spices during the spice trade era. It has been proved to lower blood lipids and inhibit cholesterol absorption.
Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, “has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities and thus has a potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic illnesses,” according to a review in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology.
Spices last a while, but they lose their flavor over time, so buy them in usable quantities. The ground versions lose flavor faster than their whole counterparts. Seal tightly in glass containers, and store in the dark, away from the heat of the oven, for optimal freshness. Many plastic spice containers contain the harmful chemical BPA, so glass is best. Never buy a spice rack with spices in it! Chances are they are not fresh, and there might be ones you won’t use. Choose the spices you desire and look for expiration dates.