Health Benefits of Cooking with Herbs and Spices
Spices and Herbs – Variety is the spice of life
The old saying “variety is the spice of life” holds true in every aspect of life, including diet. Health experts recommend eating a variety of foods with many colors and flavors as a part of a healthy lifestyle. Herbs and spices are a powerful tool to diversify your plate and palate and have been used for over 4,000 years!
The benefits of cooking with herbs and spices go far beyond adding color and flavor to meals. Not only are herbs and spices used to add variety and replace extra fat, sugar and salt in meals, but they also provide powerful antioxidants while adding virtually no calories
Spices have long been recognized for their digestive stimulant action. Several spices are also employed in medicinal preparations against digestive disorders in traditional and Indian systems of medicine.The studies have shown that many spices induce higher secretion of bile acids which play a vital role in fat digestion and absorption. When consumed through the diet also spices produce significant stimulation of the activities of pancreatic lipase, amylase and proteases. A few of them also have been shown to have beneficial effect on the terminal digestive enzymes of small intestinal mucosa. Thus, the digestive stimulant action of spices seems to be mediated through two possible modes: (i) by stimulating; the liver to secrete bile rich in bile acids, components that are vital for fat digestion and absorption, and (ii) by a stimulation of enzyme activities that are responsible for digestion.
Health benefits of cooking with herbs and spices
Using herbs and spices to add flavor to meals is a great way to decrease salt intake. Decreasing salt intake is important for many reasons:
- Salt can increase blood pressure, especially in salt sensitive people
- High blood pressure is the #1 risk factor for stroke
- High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease
A low sodium diet may help reduce your risk of heart disease, as well as stroke.Using herbs and spices instead of salt is a healthy and delicious way to decrease sodium intake and decrease your risk of heart disease. Spices such as black pepper, garlic powder, curry powder, cumin, dill seeds,basil, ginger, coriander and onion are the most effective dried herbs and spices in replacing the taste of salt.
Spices and Herbs that helps in weight loss
Cooking with herbs and spices is a great way to enhance the flavor of foods without additional calories from added fats and sugars. Removing 1 tbsp. of fat from a meal can remove up to 10g of fat and 100 calories. This could represent a 10 pound weight loss in one year! Instead of enhancing flavor through gravies, breading and deep frying, try adding some herbs and spices!
Reduce sugar in meals by replacing added sugar with these sweet tasting herbs: Allspice, anise, cardamom, cinnamon , cloves, ginger, mace, and nutmeg
Anti-inflammation and Antioxidants.
Researchers are revealing the protective roles of many culinary herbs and spices and their ability to potentially reduce inflammation.Cooking with herbs and spices is a great way to reduce your risk of many chronic diseases while adding flavor to meals and every day life! Use of herbs and spices in meals can decrease the risk of cancer, diabetes and other chronic illnesses.Research has found that herbs and spices can contribute significantly to daily intake of antioxidants. Herbs and spices contain more antioxidants than most fruits and vegetables.Herbs and spices packed with the most antioxidants include oregano, sage,peppermint, lemon balm, clove, and cinnamon.