With the thousands of plants growing on our lands, each with its own medicinal and health benefits, it becomes confusing which of these healthy herbs and spices you ought to include in your diet. The dilemma is understandable since it is only in the last few decades that the western world has accepted what advocates of Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine have known for centuries – herbs, spices and other botanical ingredients help keep the human body healthy and disease-free.
Herbs and spices are rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that give them their own unique protective and curative functions. Researchers have studied and recommended them to add to your food to maintain the balance our bodies need to stay healthy. Here are their recommendations. Some plant-derived natural products that are not strictly herbal are included because they are just too good to be left out.
Healthy Herbs and Spices to Include in the Daily Diet
The once scorned coconut oil is now touted to be a superfood. The fatty acids found in this tropical fruit can help lessen the symptoms of brain conditions like Alzheimer’s and epilepsy. It also helps fight obesity by hastening the burning of fat.
Scientific studies have shown that coconut oil in various forms kills bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites that cause influenza, throat infections, skin diseases, fungal infections, gum diseases and many others. Oral ingestion of coconut oil helps reduces cholesterol levels and keeps blood sugar level normal.
Coconut oil can be added to vegetable dishes or take one tablespoon of extra virgin coconut oil orally for a healthy heart.
Also known as Indian saffron, turmeric is a yellow-orange perennial plant that is native to Asia. It grows underground and sends its shoots upwards. Turmeric contains curcumin, the spice that gives curry its yellow color. It has been proven to ease the pain of osteoarthritis and may also help heal eye inflammation, reduce the risk for diabetes, colorectal cancer, dyspepsia, gum inflammation, heart attack following bypass surgery, skin rashes and stomach ulcers.
Add it to your cooking as much as possible.
Or what we know as red hot chili pepper, has capsaicin as its active ingredient along with vitamins A, B6, C, E and a host of minerals. Aside from adding spice to your meals, it aids in weight loss by suppressing the appetite, gives relief from muscle and post-surgical pain and helps in treating psoriasis, migraine, allergies, and colds.
Cayenne pepper can be added to any dish if you want it spicy.
Cloves are the bright red to brown flower buds of the clove tree that grows abundantly in many Asian countries. It is popularly used to treat toothache by direct application to the gums. Cloves are added as spice in meat, fish, chicken and vegetable dishes and used regularly, it can improve digestion and enhance libido. As tea, it acts as an expectorant to cough up phlegm and kill the germs that cause sore throat.
Cloves are used whole or in powder form to enhance the flavor in food.
This is the spice that comes from the bark of the Cinnamomum tree. Taken routinely, it improves brain function and prevents Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s or delays its onset. Cinnamon also regulates blood sugar levels to protect against diabetes, lowers cholesterol levels and has high anti-inflammatory properties that protect the body against infections.
Cinnamon in powder form can be added to coffee, fruits, oatmeal and other snack foods.