(NaturalNews) Bachelors view them as unnecessary complications. Beginning chefs view them as mysterious and intimidating ingredients only to be used by those with more experience. But herbs and spices should be a tool in every cook's arsenal, because in addition to adding delicious flavors to all types of dishes, they contain various disease fighting compounds. That is why herbs and spices have been used medicinally for thousands of years. Below are five herbs and spices that are beneficial for your taste buds and body.
Cinnamon contains iron, calcium, manganese, and fiber, and can be used to temper sugar cravings. Another important noted effect of cinnamon is its impact on stabilizing blood sugar levels. Try cinnamon in coffee, on fruit, or in a baked sweet potato.
Chili peppers contain capsaicin, which increases metabolism and satiety in addition to triggering proteins in fat to break fat down, showing great potential for those with body re-composition goals. Chili peppers also increase the resistance to harmful bacteria in stomach cells, which may decrease the risk of developing an ulcer. Add chili peppers to any dish that could use a bit of heat.
Ginger is a proven way to settle a sick stomach. Ginger can also relieve cough and congestion symptoms thanks to the phytochemicals shogaol and zingerone. The health benefits of ginger do not stop at helping common sickness, however. Ginger also has shown the ability to reduce muscle ache, decrease arthritis pain, and potentially fight various cancers. Some ways to utilize ginger: put in tea, soup, or a stir-fry.
Saffron is a potent mood boosting spice. Consuming saffron has been shown to decrease depression as well as post menstrual symptoms. Two tasty ways to add saffron into your culinary repertoire: cook into rice dishes and use in tomato-based sauces.
Some spices seem like they were meant to be used in conjunction with certain dishes. This is the case with rosemary, which works perfectly in meat marinades. Due to its antioxidant content, rosemary has been shown to prevent the formation carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines in meat when the cooking method is broiling, grilling, or frying.
Don't be intimidated by herbs and spices. If used correctly, they can add a whole new dimension to your cooking. So open up that spice cabinet and reap the health benefits of cinnamon, chili peppers, ginger, saffron, and rosemary.
About the author: Ben Hirshberg is a 21 year old student, author, and entrepreneur who studies the art of living well. Born and bred in Seattle, WA, Ben likes to read, cook, run, travel, and throw convivial parties. Ben has PFT, FNS, and YES certifications through WITS and NASM and is in the process of becoming a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and achieving board certification in Holistic Nutrition by the National Association of Nutrition Professionals. He also writes regular columns for Paleo Magazine and is hoping to release several books in 2014.
You can get his book A Simple Guide to Mindful and Intuitive Eating for FREE at www.BenHirshberg.com