Spices have been used for centuries for food and medicine. The search for spices and better trade routes lead to much of the exploration that connected the world. Today, spices are still key to flavouring food, although salt, sugar and fat have taken over as the the dominant flavourings in most of today’s food.
Salt and fat are both important elements in a healthy diet when consuming quality moderate amounts. However, there are times in life when a low sodium diet may be right for you. One way to limit the amount of salt, sugar and fat in your food is to increase up the use of other spices. Not only do herbs and spices add amazing flavour, but many have health benefits. Below are my top 5 spices that are always stocked in jars in my kitchen and a very simple hearty plant-based recipe using my top 5 spices!
Cinnamon has antibacterial, antifungal and antimicrobial properties which is why it has been used as a health promoting spice for centuries. Cinnamon contains manganese, iron, and calcium as well as other essential minerals. One of my favorite benefits of cinnamon is its ability to aid in blood circulation which in turn helps provide oxygen to our cells and aid with pain and recovery. Cinnamon is also a special spice because it is equally tasty in sweet and savory dishes.
Chili powder, sometimes called Red Chili Powder is similar to paprika; made from dried and ground peppers. It is usually spicier than paprika but not quite as hot as cayenne. Since peppers and their use vary around the world various “Chili Powders” may provide you different spiciness. When purchasing chili powder in the US be sure to check the ingredient list, as Chili Powder Spice Blends are sold as simply “Chili Powder” and these may contain a variety of other spices such as paprika, garlic, cumin, oregano. I use Chili Powder Spice Blends often for making chili, soups and taco seasoning.
Pure Chili Powder has anti-inflammatory properties which may help to decrease swelling and increase blood flow. Capsaicin, a compound found in chili powder may help increase your metabolism and support fat burning. Chili powder also contains the immune boosting star vitamin C.
Star anise is the dried, star shaped fruit of Illicium verum. It is used to flavour vegetables, meat, and to marinate meat. It is used as a condiment for flavouring curries, confectionaries, spirits, and for pickling. It is also used in perfumery. The essential oil of star anise is used to flavour soft drinks, bakery products and liquors. The fruit is anti- bacterial, carminative, diuretic and stomachic. It is considered useful in flatulence and spasmodic.
Peppercorns are actually the fruits of a flowering vine in the Piperaceae family. The green, wide-leafed vines grow long tendrils where cylindrical clusters of the berries ripen. The fruits are small containing a thin skin, very little actual fruit, and a single large seed. The fruits are picked at varying degrees of ripeness depending on the strength and type of pepper desired and then processed accordingly.
The Black pepper holds a unique space in the average North American home. After all, whereas other spices live tucked away in dark cupboards black pepper proudly stands in shakers and grinders on the kitchen counter or – holiest of holy places – the dining table in nearly every single home and restaurant. It’s the only spice that finds its way into nearly every single dish.
Lemon grass powder is actually a seasoning produced from dried out fragrant lemon grass. Also referred to as Cymbopogon citratum, it really is traditionally used in Sri Lankan, Thai, Indian, Malaysian as well as Indonesian cooking. However, it’s also a diuretic along with a revitalizing tonic utilized for its therapeutic qualities. Additional uses of lemon grass powder consist of its industrial use like a moderate insect repellent and also as a component in soaps as well as perfumes.
Refreshingly citrus Lemongrass Powder is really a commonly wanted spice within the Asian, African, as well as American continents because of its cooking as well as therapeutic uses. Lemongrass powder is really a store house of essential oils, chemicals, vitamins, and minerals.