History and Health Benefits of Spices

SpicesTurmeric

This warm and savory seasoning has been praised for its effectiveness in managing ailments such as arthritis, heartburn, diarrhea, jaundice, and loss of appetite. It also contains curcumin, a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidant properties that may decrease swelling.

This spice has also been known for supporting headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, depression, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Some people apply turmeric to the skin for pain, eye infections, sores inside of the mouth, infected wounds, and some skin conditions. In food and manufacturing, the essential oil of turmeric is used in perfumes, and its resin is used as a flavor and color component in foods.
Garlic

The use of garlic has been well documented by all the major civilizations including the Egyptians, Babylonians, Greeks, Romans, and the Chinese. It was traditionally used in these ancient cultures to reduce fatigue and enhance the work capacity of laborers. Moreover, it was administered to Olympic athletes in ancient Greece specifically because of its performance enhancing capacity.

This plant is a member of the onion family and is generally grown for its cooking properties and health benefits. It contains antioxidants and a high sulfur compound called Allicin, which is believed to bring about health benefits such as improving cholesterol levels, preventing cell damage and related diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Dementia, as well as reducing the severity of common illnesses like flus and colds. High doses of garlic seem to improve blood pressure with hypertension and high blood pressure. It has also been shown to significantly reduce lead toxicity and related symptoms. Garlic is also low in calories and rich in Vitamin C, B6, and Manganese.

Onions

Onions may make you cry, but that doesn’t lessen their incredible health benefits. For centuries, onions have been used to reduce inflammation and heal infections. In fact, the next time you get stung by a bee, apply a little onion juice to the area for immediate relief from the burning sensation and pain. The phytochemicals in onions improves how Vitamin C works within your body, providing you with improved general immunity levels. Onions contain chromium which assists in regulating blood sugar. A compound called quercetin in onions is known to play significant role in preventing cancer. Raw onion encourages the production of good cholesterol. Onions scavenge free radicals, thereby reducing your risk of developing gastric ulcers. Those bright green tops of green onions are rich in Vitamin A, so don’t skimp on sprinkling them on your food.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes originated in the Andes (Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador regions), where they grew wild. They were first cultivated by the Aztecs and Incas as early as 700 AD. Tomatoes were first cultivated in the 1500s in Great Britain and were first consumed in America in the mid-1800s. Today, tomatoes are cultivated and harvested in such quantities that in 2009, over 433 thousand acres were harvested within the United States for both fresh retail sale and food processing.

Tomatoes are a nutrient-dense superfood and a strong antioxidant. An excellent source of Vitamins A, B6, C, E, and K, Tomatoes also supply of potassium, manganese, copper, folate, niacin, and phosphorus in abundance. Tomatoes can also help combat the formation of free radicals known to cause cancer, ward off prostate cancer entirely, lower your blood pressure and risk of heart disease, help manage insulin levels in adults with diabetes, prevent skin damage due to sun exposure, reduce constipation, and provide adequate folic acid levels in pregnant women to protect against neural tube defects in infants.

Bell Peppers

The bell pepper is a good source of Vitamin E which is known to play a key role in keeping skin and hair looking youthful. Bell peppers are also low in calories and a cupful are guaranteed not to add to your waistline while meeting your daily quota of Vitamin A and C.

Red bell peppers contain several phytochemicals and carotenoids, particularly beta-carotene, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. The capsaicin in bell peppers has been found to reduce cholesterol, control diabetes, and provide relief from inflammatory pain.

If cooked for a short period, red bell peppers retain most of their sweet, almost fruity flavor. Lutein, an important enzyme found in bell peppers protects the eyes from cataracts and macular degeneration while Vitamin B6 is essential for the health of your nervous system and supports cell renewal.

Berbere

Berbere (Amharic: በርበሬ berberē) is a mixture of spices from Ethiopia and Eritrea. It usually contains chili peppers, garlic, ginger, basil, korarima, rue, ajwain or radhuni, nigella, and fenugreek, but the exact mixture is usually a mystery to all except the chef.

Cinnamon

The sweet and warm hints in this spice makes this a very tasty addition to Ethiopian food. It has been found to lower blood sugar levels, reduce risk of heart disease, increase sensitivity to hormone insulin, and serve as a natural food preservative. Cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants. In a study that compared the antioxidant activity of 26 spices, cinnamon wound up as the clear winner, even outranking “superfoods” like garlic and oregano.

Ginger

Ginger is an aromatic, pungent, and spicy ingredient that has a long history of use for relieving digestive problems. It can be consumed fresh, powdered, dried as a spice, in oil form or as a juice. It can treat many forms of nausea, especially morning sickness.

Ginger has a long history of use for relieving digestive problems such as nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness and pain. The root or underground stem (rhizome) of the ginger plant can be consumed fresh, powdered, dried as a spice, in oil form or as juice.

Ginger supports digestion, lowers blood sugar levels, and reduces the day-to-day progression of muscle pain. Ginger can fight infections and protect against age-related damage to the brain. It can also improve brain function in elderly women.

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