Spices and Herbs: A Surprising Immunity Boost – by Nitu Pal Singh

This article by Nitu Pal Singh enlightens you about the immunity boosting properties and medicinal properties of spices and herbs which we might have been ignoring all this while. Read this one and fill your food with color, flavor as well as power with these magical spices and herbs!

Although spices and herbs have been used since ancient times, they are playing a new and important role in modern food preparation. They not only add unique flavors to our food but contribute color and varieties as well. Certain spices and herbs are used alone or in blends and can replace or reduce salt and sugar in foods.

Spices

Spices are dried seeds, root, bark, or other vegetable matter, used to flavor or color to a dish.

Herbs

Herbs are plants with aromatic properties that are used to flavoring and garnishing the food, for medical purposes or for fragrances excluding vegetables and other plants consumed for macronutrients.

Here are some spices and herbs to boost your immunity levels and fight off inflammation, infection and viruses.

  1. Turmeric: Turmeric is a bright yellow orange spice commonly used in mostly all dishes. It comes from turmeric root. Turmeric is not only a spice used for coloring the food. It has been used for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and medical properties for thousands of years.

This works wonder in many health issues and diseases. Turmeric tea's strong anti-inflammatory properties can help ease inflammation and swelling people with arthritis.

Turmeric anti-oxidants prevent damage that can lead to Alzheimer's diseases. It has Curcumin which is an effective anti-carcinogen which helps to prevent cancer.

Turmeric helps to boost your immune system even in people with immune disorders. By taking turmeric milk at bed time daily you can prevent many health issues.

  1. Ginger: Ginger is a flowering plant whose root is widely used as a spice and a folk medicine. It contains gingerols, shogols and paradols that have potential to prevent various cancers.

This immune boosting spice is also antibacterial properties that can help prevent nausea. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidants properties help control the process of aging, and digestion and cardiovascular diseases.

Ginger also contains antimicrobial compounds that allow it to help in treating infectious diseases. Ginger tea with boiling ginger root in water, add honey and lemon juice helps a lot in weight loss and in digestion.

  1. Garlic: Garlic (Allium sativum) is closely related to the onion, rakkyo (an onion found in Asia). It is widely used for its medicinal properties. It may have a range of health benefits both raw and cooked. It may have antibiotic properties. It helps in increasing immunity.

Garlic is used for several conditions linked to the blood system and heart including atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, heart attack, coronary heart disease and hypertension. It is also used to prevent various cancers.

  1. Cinnamon: Cinnamon is made from the inner bark of cinnamomum tree. It is mainly used as an aromatic condiment and flavoring additive in a wide variety of cuisines, sweet and savory dishes.

It is commonly used herb in masala. It is an immune boosting spice. It helps to prevent cold cough. It  helps to control the blood sugar levels.  It is loaded with antioxidants. It helps in lower the blood pressure levels. It may cut the risk of heart diseases.

  1. Black Pepper: Black pepper is known as a peppercorn, which is usually dried and used as a spice and seasoning. It is high in antioxidants. It has anti-inflammatory properties. It keeps your brain healthy and lowers the cholesterol levels. It improves blood sugar levels. It is versatile spice which have cancer fighting properties too.
  2. Cardamom: Cardamom is a spice with an intense, slightly sweet flavor which is compared to mint. It has many medicinal properties. Cardamom may help lower the blood pressure most likely due to its antioxidant and diuretic properties.

It contains chemicals that might treat intestinal spasm, kill some bacteria, reduce swelling and help the immune system. In summers a cooling drink full of jaggery, cardomom and lime juice is full of antioxidant.

  1. Jeera (cumin seeds): Cumin is a spice made from the seeds of cuminum cyminum plant. It is used in curry, dry vegetables, seasoning for soups, in bakery items. Cumin has long been used traditional medicine. It includes promoting digestion and reducing food borne infections.

Cumin seeds are rich in iron. It provides almost 20% of daily iron in one teaspoon. It promotes weight loss and fat reduction. It contain multiple plant compounds that may help in inflammation.

  1. Tulsi: Tulsi is a green herb with excellent aromatic properties.it is also known as Holy basil. It does wonders, act as a natural immune booster. It protects against nearly all infections from viruses, bacteria, fungi and protozoa. It is consumed as a herbal tea and used as a flavoring in a range of dishes spanning continents from vegetable sauces to pizzas and cheeses.

It has healing power as the leaves act as a nerve tonic and also sharpen memory. Tulsi warm water is good for gargling in sore throat. It may relieve symptoms of ashtma, bronchitis, cold, congestion, cough, flu, sinusitis. Regular consumption of tulsi may lower blood pressure and cholesterol by regulating cortisol levels, reducing the risk of stroke, heart attack and other related diseases.

It may help reduce inflammation and relieve the joint pain. It acts as an antiseptic, it may kill the damaging bacteria in the mouth, resulting in cleaner teeth and fresher breath.

  1. Mint: Mint is a popular herb used in several foods and beverages ranging from teas and alcoholic drinks to sauces, salad and desserts. This herb is particularly known for cooling sensation it imparts. It can be used in both fresh and dried forms.

Mint is rich in nutrients like vitamin A and antioxidants. It helps in boosting immunity. It helps protect against harmful bacteria and thus helps in reducing risk of foodborne illness when used in storage and preservation. Using mint in anything from vegetable salad, fush, meat and poultry can help limit the amount of salt you add to food without sacrificing taste, raising time, or increasing recipe time. It improves the symptoms of IBS, a common digestive disorder.

Peppermint tea or chewing on mint leaves may be more beneficial in reducing bacteria that cause bad breath. 

  1. Sage: It belongs to the mint family like oregano, rosemary, basil and thyme. It has a strong and earthy flavor that is why it is used in small amount as a spice. It is high in antioxidants and may help support oral health, aid brain function and lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

It is used to make medicines. It is used in digestive problems including gas (flatulance), stomach pain, loss of appetite, diarrhea, bloating and heart burn. It may help relieving in sore throat. Using a specific spray containing sage extracts 15% reduces throat pain.

About The Author

Nitu Pal

Nitu Pal is a nutritionist. She runs her own clinic in Bhopal. She is an expert in kids’ nutrition, cardiac issues pregnancy, diabetes, thyroid, PCOS and liver issues. She.... Read More..

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