Spices and herbs may be one of the most underrated ingredients that you have in the back of your kitchen cabinet. Generally, while many just use some salt and pepper to add flavor to their food, remembering spices and herbs is an easy and healthful way to add flavor to your meals and make them more enjoyable to eat! Herbs and spices are actually made from plants, and therefore offer many health benefits. Since they come from plants, they contain phytonutrients, antioxidants, and are anti-inflammatory. Start branching out from just salt and pepper - and try some fresh herbs and spices to boost your food!
Traditionally, herbs and spices were used as medicine. “Ayrveda” is the ancient Indian medicine that uses medicinal plants in people’s diets for healing. India is a country that greatly focused on people’s health and longevity and has been using herbs and spices for treatments for centuries. While more research needs to be done to show that this type of Eastern medicine treatment works, there have been studies that show the benefits of consuming phytonutrients and antioxidants. Eating plant foods such as herbs and spices do prevent diseases, infections, asthma, allergies, heart disease, and cancer with their protective substances. Continue to live a long and healthy life by adding some “Ayvreda” into your food!
Top 5 Herbs & Spices To Have in Your Kitchen
Turmeric has been super trendy as of lately for a good reason! 1,000 studies have supported that turmeric is anti-cancer herb since it is a potent antioxidant and very anti-inflammatory. Turmeric originates and is produced in India, where the average person uses 1 tsp daily in cooking. India has been shown to have lower incidences of Alzheimers, diabetes, and cancer, possibly because of the daily use of this spice! An important note is that when cooking with turmeric, you must add pepper as well as a fat for better absorption to obtain the health benefits. Add turmeric to meat, vegetables, or rice with olive oil and pepper in your next dinner!
Feel sick, nauseous, or have a migraine coming on? Ginger to the rescue! Fresh ginger is that weird, light brown rhizome (hand) root that you can find in the grocery store. You can store it in your kitchen as you would onions (in a cool, dark place) to have when you need it! Slice, grind, or grate ginger into a tea when you are feeling sick or have a headache. You can also try adding ginger into a vegetable stir-fry for a flavorful meal with added health benefits.
This spice that we tend to use for sweeter dishes was traditionally used in India and China as medicine for centuries. Studies show that cinnamon steadies your blood sugar. Try sprinkling some cinnamon in your daily coffee, tea, cocoa, or even in your next smoothie. You’ll love the sweet taste and benefit from not having a spike in your blood sugar!
It has been studied that basil can normalize cortisol levels and has “anti-stress effects”. Choose fresh basil over dried if possible. Try growing a basil plant in your kitchen window. Basil is easy to grow and maintain as well as allowing you to pick some fresh basil leaves to add flavor to your next spaghetti squash or cauliflower pizza dinner!
Ancient Greece used this popular spice as medicine and is now traditionally used in meals for it’s delicious taste. Rosemary contains a special blend of antioxidants, has been shown to lower cortisol levels when inhaled, and improves memory. Try storing fresh rosemary in your fridge to sniff when you are feeling stressed out. This herb is great for an abundance of dishes including eggs/frittatas, seasoning for chicken or fish, baked in biscuits or bread, or topped on roasted vegetables. Try roasting almonds or cashews in your oven with olive oil, salt, and fresh rosemary for a decadent, healthy, and easy snack!
M. M. Pandey, Subha Rastogi, and A. K. S. Rawat, “Indian Traditional Ayurvedic System of Medicine and Nutritional Supplementation,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2013, Article ID 376327, 12 pages, 2013. .
- Morriss, B. Adding Health Benefits and Flavor to Your Food With Herbs and Spices. Retrieved from