Spice up your life – 10 Indian spices that benefit your health
We all enjoy a good curry but in the back of our minds we do sometimes feel guilty as we tend to look at the amount of calories we will gain by eating Indian food.
When we think of Indian food we think of rich, creamy curry dishes, fried starters and sweet desserts.
However, as this blog explains, spices used in Indian food offer a variety of health benefits too. Read on to find out more:
Cinnamon isn’t just a great way to sweeten up your pastry or morning coffee, it also has great weight-loss properties, too. According to a recent study by Diabetes Care, a simple teaspoon of cinnamon a day rapidly reduces blood sugar levels, as well as cholesterol by 26%, meaning it helps protect against diabetes, weight-gain and cardiovascular disease. Often used in spicy lamb curries.
Love a bit of a zing when you eat your curry? Hot and spicy paprika contains capsaicin, whose anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects may lower the risk of cancer (also found in cayenne and red chilli peppers).
This is a staple ingredient in all Indian takeaway kitchens and restaurants. Black pepper contains a piperine component (which creates its pungent taste) as well as boosting the metabolism by as much as 8% for several hours after ingesting. Freshly ground pepper packs the most piperine.
These spicy-tasting mustard seed not only pack a punch on your taste buds, but helps boost the metabolism. This helps the body burn fat quicker – by up to 25% and around 45 calories per average meal. Most Indian chefs like to pop the seeds first in hot oil to release the authentic flavour. Often found in chicken and lamb curries.
The main ingredient in the cayenne pepper is capsaicin, which is known for its fat-burning abilities and thermogenic properties. These stimulate the central nervous system to produce heat in the body that goes onto increase calorie burning. If you like your curry extra hot then added Cayenne pepper will really tickle those taste buds.
Thanks to its preventative and curative ingredient, curcumin, a rich anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, turmeric is best at reducing inflammation in the muscles and joints. This spice is also believed to be a great breast cancer-preventing food and is more effective than over-the-counter pain killers, like aspirin and ibuprofen, according to the American Institute for Vedic Studies.
Coriander is usually added as a garnish before the dish is served. It is also used in the cooking of the dish. Coriander rapidly decreases the painful symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Coriander contains an anti-spasmodic agent that helps relax contracted digestive muscles, which cause stomach cramps. It’s also good at relaxing the artery, which subsequently helps lower blood pressure.
Fennel can be classed as a vegetable, herb or spice but whatever you label it, its anti-inflammatory agents provide pain relief for menstrual cramps. Fennel contains liquorice-tasting oil called anethole and phytoestrogen, an oestrogen-like compound. This is proven to reduce menstrual cramps and is as strong as an over-the-counter ibuprofen.
Ginger is the one ingredient used in almost every single Indian dish. A root vegetable it packs a flavour. Ginger has long been used as a spice which helps ease all types of nausea. As well as adding flavour to a curry, ginger also reduces the release of vasopressin – the key hormone that plays a role in motion sickness. Ginger also has great gastric mobility abilities, and aids healthy digestion.
Oregano is a major source of thymol and carvacol – two antibacterial agents that fight off infection. It’s also packed with super strength anti-oxidants, so much so, it has quadruple the amount of antioxidants found in blueberries.
A good curry requires the right amount of spice in it to give it that real authentic taste. If you are looking to add some spice to your life and boost your health then there is nothing better than a really good Indian takeaway to spice up your life in more ways than one. So, if you fancy an Indian why not check out what your local Y4Food Portsmouth takeaways or Y4Food Southampton Takeaways
We hope you found this blog informative. Are you an Indian food lover, please comment below with your favourite spicy Indian dish. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and join us on Twitter for exclusive competitions, discounts and promotions.
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