Spices are healing foods.
They not only enhance flavors, but they strengthen the nutritional potency of any culinary creation.
Spices are healing foods.
I began to embrace spices while living in India. A spice box with a rainbow of colors and flavors was always beside the stove of the best Home Cooks and Chefs. My Southern Indian landlord taught me how and why to use each spice while considering both the taste and the medicinal effects; much like a doctor might prescribe medication. A world of possibilities was now open to me in the spice cabinet. Spices are healing foods.
I like to call these spiced foods “Super Enhanced Foods” because they ARE so densely nutritious. And it is easy to create these multi-dimensional, thriveful foods yourself by adding spices in various combinations to foods, drinks and smoothies. I encourage students and clients to break free from recipes and try their own blends. I teach the art of spice blending in my Kitchen Harmony class. It is filled with techniques to make you more confident and at ease in the kitchen.
You will be amazed with what you come up with and how the spices make you feel.
Let go and have a little fun with it.
Remember these three tips on dried spices
1) Pay attention to the expiration dates and buy in small quantities.
2) Always buy organic.
3) If you can’t smell it, it’s not fresh.
The following are my top seven spices that you should try to eat more of. If you are already eating them, please let me know some recipes or ways that you DO eat them, I would love to hear, so please share in the comments below.
This spice is a miracle worker. Cayenne aids in digestion and is said to speed up the metabolism and suppress the appetite. Cayenne has anti-fungal properties, regulates blood flow, and is beneficial for circulation. One of my favorite pick-me-ups is a shot of lemon juice, ginger and cayenne pepper—this works better than a double espresso.
Another miracle spice, cinnamon is a natural food preservative and has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. Cinnamon can help with arthritis and swelling, help to prevent yeast infections and balance blood sugar. Indians often eat cinnamon with any carbohydrate as it aids in digestion. I even put a pinch in my tomato sauce as I find that it balances the acid.
The medicinal properties in turmeric are astounding. It has been used as a natural pain reliever for its anti-inflammatory properties and is a natural antiseptic. Turmeric is filled with antioxidants and cancer fighting properties. I take a teaspoon of raw turmeric in some water with lemon every morning, as it is an excellent way to get the stomach moving and begin the day.
Cumin adds depth and strength to a dish, as well as tremendous nutritional benefits. It is excellent for digestion and relieving gas and colic, and acts as a mild diuretic. Cumin boosts the immune system so is excellent for colds or flu. The spice is also filled with iron so those with anemia should include a teaspoon a day in water or in food.
Crushed, toasted, raw, and chopped—I love Garlic. The healing benefits of garlic are extraordinary. It is a natural anti-microbe and can help keep parasites and bugs at bay. Garlic’s anti-inflammatory properties may help with arthritis and if you have a cold or even an allergic reaction, garlic is an inexpensive and quick cure. Some of the vitamins and minerals found in the garlic bulb are manganese, vitamin C, tryptophan, and protein.
Black pepper stimulates the taste buds and the secretion of hydrochloric acid, which is needed for the digestion of proteins and other food. Without this acid, food sits in the stomach and heartburn, indigestion, gas, and other stomach irritations can occur. Black pepper is also an antioxidant and stimulates the breakdown of fat cells.
Ginger is the king of cures and one spice that I cannot live without. Ginger is anticancerous, anti-inflammatory, antiparasitic and anti-motion sickness. A strong brew of fresh ginger root tea can settle the stomach as well as heal the body of colds, the flu or just about any ailment. Ginger also acts as an appetite suppressant.