For hundreds of years, spices have kindled international trade inspiring man to voyage out and discover new lands. Over these years, they have been used for everything from medicines, dyes and perfumes to the flavorings in your food. Today, spices are still prized for the variety and tastes they can lend to your diet. Without these flavorings, foods would be bland or even tasteless. Using a variety of spices can add new tastes and flavors to humdrum dishes, sparking your appetite for healthier foods.
Characterized by pungent aromas and flavors, spices are the roots, buds, bark, flowers and fruits of plants. Even though spices are rich in minerals, they are usually used in such minimal amounts, making them low in nutritional value–perfect for those who are heavy handed on things, without blowing their diets.
Because spices lose their pungency after being exposed to light and air after a short period of time, proper storage of these precious flavorings is very important. Storage in a dark, dry cupboard or closet kept at room temperature is ideal.
Spices and flavoring can be found just about anywhere, so there is no need to skip out on them. Getting fresh herbs and spices for sprucing up your meal is best, but standard spices usually come in the dried form. They can easily be brought back to life by adding a little water and letting them soak in a small dish for a few minutes to soften.
Buying spices doesn’t have to be expensive. All spices are going to have around the same nutritional value, so save your cash and pick up a deal when you can. Whether you’re shopping at the Dollar Store™ or Whole Foods™, the spices you buy will be identical except for the packaging!
Learning to use spices will not only bring out the better chef in you, but it can also improve your desire for healthier foods. And, improved taste is not a spice’s only contribution.
Every one of them is known to contain medicinal applications. A few examples are listed below:
Allspice and Cardamom are a great way to relieve some everyday digestion problems and flatulence.
In vitro studies on allspice have also demonstrated its antibacterial and antifungal uses as well.
Black Pepper is not only just for the dinner table. Sniffing black pepper may prevent fainting attacks for the more dramatic among us.
Caraway Seeds aid in the production of milk, a major bonus for nursing mothers.
Cayenne Pepper has so many medicinal qualities, it is often called the “king of spices.” It is thought to be a natural mood enhancer, as well as stimulating your metabolism, lowering your cholesterol, healing ulcers, cleansing the circulatory system and relieving arthritis.
Cinnamon is highly versatile and can be used to relieve gas and bloating.
Coriander has been used as a digestion aid for years and in larger quantities is a great source of vitamin C.
Ginger is very useful in calming nausea and motion sickness.
Mustard has been used since Ancient Rome to relieve pain and congestion.
Nutmeg and nutmeg oil, used in larger doses, are great for hallucinations if that’s your thing.
Saffron, the most expensive of all the spices, is touted as an aphrodisiac.
Last but not least is Turmeric, a spice valued for inflammation and digestive problem.
Stocking up on spices can help prevent and cure your body’s most common woes, so add these spices to your arsenal at home and don’t be afraid to shop for the best prices in town!
Andy Kress is a certified fitness trainer, yoga instructor and
nutritional counselor in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
For more nutritional tips or inspired exercise routines,
reach him at 954-789-3930 or via email at andyfitnesstrainer@ gmail.com