I don’t know what I would do without herbs and spices. They make everything taste so scrumptious! Today I am talking about a few spices that don’t get talked about all the time despite their positive health effects. All spices can help food taste amazing, and they have antibacterial and antifungal properties, antioxidant effects, minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients. Nutrition and You created a wonderful index of these benefits for each spice, and you can find it here. I know we all tend to see the benefits of turmeric, ginger and cinnamon on a regular basis, so I highlighted three spices that I use regularly or have tried in various recipes.
Nutmeg – I don’t think I would have ventured into trying nutmeg until a simple skin allergy test showed that I was allergic to cinnamon. After that I had to find an alternative, which has yet to fail me. I love how it’s spicy and a little sweet. I order almond milk from a local grocery and asked to sub nutmeg for cinnamon in almond milk – soooo good! Fun Fact: nutmeg is the seed of a fruit, ground into a powder to use. And, why is it good for you?
- A lot of spices and herbs have antifungal/antibacterial (including nutmeg). Nutmeg helps with depression, digestive and carminative functions (I looked this one up, but that means to ease fluctuance – gas!) As for infants, it is good for colic babies!
- Also, it’s anti-inflammatory properties help with toothaches, prevent cavities, muscle and joint pain.
- Nutmeg has essential oils including a fixed oil called trimyristin and essential volatile oils (giving it it’s sweet smell) like myristicin, elemicin, eugenol, safrole, and more!
- Nutmeg has a lot of minerals, including: potassium, iron, zinc and magnesium.
Cumin or jeera – I use cumin in everything… literally everything. Whether ground or just the seeds it brings out so much flavor in food. I won’t lie, but I do get confused between cumin and caraway seeds sometimes, but maybe they are the same thing? 🙂
- Again, just like nutmeg, cumin has carminative properties
- It also contains antioxidants.
- They are fibrous.
- The seed has essential oils.
- Cumin also has the ability to help with gut motility and digestion because it helps release GI enzymes.
- And, cumin contains many minerals such as iron (a lot of it), calcium, selenium and zinc. These all help with producing and forming red blood cells, aiding in growth/development, and also helping with blood pressure and heart rate.
- Both nutmeg and cumin have B- complex vitamins as well
Fennel – This is one that I have grown up with, and I know how good it is for digestion. It is in the parsley family just as cumin, anise, and dill.
- Fennel seeds have flavonoid antioxidants including quercetin, which is helpful for many issues such as high cholesterol, viruses and asthma.
- And, it has as anti-inflammatory properties.
- Also fennel is full of fiber, which helps with tummy troubles.
- Just as cumin and nutmeg, fennel seeds also have volatile essential oils such pinene and myrcene, which give the seed the digestive, carminative and anti-flatulent characteristics.
- The seed also has a variety of vitamins and minerals like selenium, calcium and copper.
- Lastly, also has B-complex vitamins such as niacin thiamin.
Fitness Magazine lists eight spices and their health benefits. So, if you want to read more you can check that article out here.