From remarkable fat-burning powers to possible cancer-fighting compounds, herbs and spices are the unsung heroes of our kitchens. They not only have the ability to turn a bland, uninteresting meal into a delicious, gourmet dinner, but also to ease aches and pains, and protect against diseases. Every year people spend thousands of dollars on medicine, diet pills, or health gimmicks found online, but some of the most potent solutions can be found in their kitchen cabinet. Here are 10 spices and herbs that are notable for their role as culinary accents, as well as medicinal properties.
1. Culinary herbs and spices with health benefits – Garlic
The medicinal uses of garlic go far back to ancient Greece and the inception of Western medicine. Today, however, we have science to back up such claims. Garlic contains allicin- The active ingredient that causes most of the health benefits and is responsible for its pungent smell. When allicin is digested, it gets absorbed into the digestive tract and spreads throughout the body. Studies suggest that just two cloves of garlic a week can have cancer preventing benefits by disturbing the metabolism of tumor cells. If you have a cold or the flu, garlic can also boost your immune system significantly to shorten the length of your cold, or even to prevent it in the first place. If you suffer from major cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, eat as much as garlic as you can. Studies have shown that allicin can be just as effective as some hypertension drugs, lower bad cholesterol, and prevent neural degeneration because of its antioxidants. If you are looking for a tasty way to prolong your healthy life, garlic is an easy choice.
How to Use: Of all the herbs and spices in this list, garlic is one of the easiest to incorporate in a tasty way. It goes well with practically any savory dish- put a little into any soup or sauce for an extra punch. Sauté some garlic and mix with some red pepper flakes, Parmesan, and pasta for a quick, healthy dinner. Garlic oil can also be an easy way of incorporating it into your diet. If you are cooking, however, remember to let the garlic sit for a while after you chop it and before you cook it, otherwise the allicin will not be effective.