In every self-respecting kitchen, there is always a corner dedicated to healthy spices and aromatic herbs.
There are those who add them to give an exotic touch to each preparation, those who use them as a substitute for salt, and those who already know their extraordinary properties.
List of Healthy Spices For Healthy Life
Chili, oregano, Ginger, Saffron, and Turmeric are among the most used in cooking, and all are allies of health.
First of all, these are healthy spices that, even if they do not have a therapeutic function, if used daily in the kitchen, can perform an essential antioxidant action and slow down the aging process.
Chili, oregano, Turmeric, and Ginger are also included in the Smart Food classification developed by IEO, the European Institute of Oncology.
Because they can act on specific DNA traits and activate the genes of longevity.
And then these are ingredients that have no calories. They can always be used, even if we are following a stringent diet.
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Chilli: anti-inflammatory and antioxidant
The spicy taste, the one that makes us feel the flames with every bite, comes from capsaicin.
It is a molecule with a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect. It is no coincidence that we also find it in many creams for joint and muscle pain.
Rich in vitamin C when added raw, it is also able to increase the availability and absorption of non-heme iron from vegetables and legumes. But chili also affects metabolism.
It stimulates it, and for this reason, it is also an excellent ally for those following a diet for weight loss.
You can use it for savory recipes, add it raw to your recipes, or even prepare special biscuits or sweets. In your kitchen, you can use it both raw and cooked.
Cooking will not affect the nutritional characteristics of all the discussed healthy spices.
It is advisable always to choose the whole fresh one. Alternatively, you opt for the powder one, being careful to select a product from organic agriculture.
Oregano: the perfect substitute for salt
Next in our list of best healthy spices is Oregano. Some add it to pizza and those who season tomatoes. Oregano is one of the most classic aromatic herbs of the Mediterranean.
It is also a Smart Foods. Most of its properties derive from quercetin, a molecule responsible for longevity.
It also has antioxidants (thanks to the presence of rosmarinic acid) and bactericidal properties.
In traditional medicine, the essential oil of oregano is used, given its decisive bactericidal action and the treatment of respiratory infections.
In the kitchen, you can choose either the fresh or the dried ones. From a nutritional point of view, there is no difference between them.
In the fresh one, you will feel more the intensely aromatic part of the essential oil. Oregano also lends itself to being an excellent salt substitute.
Ginger: the anti-inflammatory root
Exotic enough, Ginger has now entered even the kitchens of the most suspicious.
Gingerol, the active molecule of Ginger, has a necessary anti-inflammatory action and has a neuroprotective effect.
According to recent studies, Ginger appears to be particularly useful in diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
It can act on prostaglandins, the molecules linked to the inflammation processes.
Ginger is also particularly recommended for women who are pregnant. It has a robust anti-nausea action. You can use the Ginger as candies or herbal teas, or infusions. In the kitchen, its use is very versatile.
It can be used both cooked and raw, but be careful not to overdo it, as the flavor is particularly strong.
Saffron: great for the eyes
Saffron is the most important spice in the list of healthy spices discussed in this post. The fragrant and colorful Saffron is an ally of sight. It is rich in beta-carotene and promotes vitamin A.
Saffron contains many substances useful for visual metabolisms such as zeaxanthin and lycopene. But this spice is also able to influence the mood and counteract some disorders of the menstrual cycle.
It contains magnesium and vitamin B6, involved in the normal functioning of the nervous system.
Unlike the other healthy spices we have discussed, to increase Saffron’s bioavailability and ensure that it can release all its beneficial effects, it is necessary to cook it in oil.
Whenever you decide to add it to your preparations, add the saffron stigmas to the oil you heat in a pan.
Turmeric: never use it without pepper
Next in the list of healthy spices is Turmeric. Even Turmeric is Smart Food. Curcumin, its active molecule, has been the subject of many studies in recent years.
It has anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties. There are also many curcumin-based supplements on the market. In particular, it has a powerful intestinal effect.
You can purchase Turmeric in both powder and root form, but as regards bioavailability, it must also bind to two other ingredients.
Black pepper and a small lipid fraction (oil, for example) are essential for Turmeric to release its properties.
You can also use it in pasta water and meat and fish preparations where it is possible to add oil and pepper. Or even in soup or on vegetables.
Finally, one of the most popular turmeric-based preparations in recent years is golden milk – special milk with a golden color that’s very useful in winter to prevent seasonal ailments.
Healthy spices and aromatic herbs are giving an edge to all recipes that have beneficial characteristics for our body.
The use of healthy spices can help us extend the time span of our life. Of course, it is not a statement but a perception that is mostly accurate.