Know about the Indian spices in kitchen | 24 Mantra

Spices: The super ingredients you should have in your kitchen


Spices: The super ingredients you should have in your kitchen

Health and Nutrition

Spices are sourced from plants. They have been used for centuries for their organoleptic properties. They are mostly used as seasonings for culinary purposes. Apart from making foods taste delicious spices are also used as preservatives. They are responsible for stimulating appetite and also in some cases enhance the appearance of the food in which they are used.

Medicinal uses of spices

Spices were also used as home remedies for minor ailments from ages. In the past few decades, the health-promoting aspects of spices have been recognized and a lot of research work has been done on identifying and characterizing the constituents of spices which are responsible for the health-promoting properties.

Spices store their flavor components in seeds, bark, and root. A spice may be the bud (clove), bark (cinnamon), root (ginger), aromatic seed (cumin), and flower stigma (saffron) of a plant.

Here are some examples of spices and their health-promoting constituents

Black pepper: Piperine is the main bio‐active constituent. Pungency and distinguishing taste of black pepper is imparted by piperine. It is a naturally occurring alkaloid and been shown to have several beneficial therapeutic effects. Piperine has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and bio-enhancing (increases bioavailability of compounds such as curcumin) properties.

Cinnamon bark oil has cinnamaldehyde as the primary constituent. Cinnamon according to research has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antitumor, cardiovascular, cholesterol-lowering, and immunomodulatory effects.

Cardamom is a popular spice used in food preparation and in traditional medicine practice. The main ingredient of cardamom is oil.  Cardamom exhibits several health benefits such as improving digestion, stimulating metabolism, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

Clove: Eugenol is the main bioactive compound of clove. Not only it has antioxidant property initial results from research shows that it is good for reducing the risk of diabetes and heart problems.

Cumin is a stimulant of enzymes and helps in reducing digestive disorders. Cumin seeds contain numerous phytochemicals that are known to have antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-flatulent properties.

Fennel contains flavonoids and phenolic compounds and is attributed to several medicinal benefits. It has namely antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antipyretic, antispasmodic, cardiovascular, chemo-modulatory, antitumor, hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic and memory-enhancing the property.

Why are the researchers interested?

You have now read a few examples of spices which have therapeutic effects. Researchers are showing a keen interest in these spice constituents because they can be used in drugs for several diseases. Since the source is a plant the side effects will be minimal even if they exist. This has increased interest in spices among the scientist’s community.

Fill up those spice boxes

A lot of us have stopped using spices. Most of us tend to use them on special occasions when we are making special recipes. Let us start using them regularly in our daily diet. Let us fill up those spice boxes and bringing back those exotic flavours into our lives and benefit from them.

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