Boost your Health with Herbs & Spices
Herbs and spices have been around for hundreds of years and many were used for their medicinal properties way before they were used in cooking. In fact, modern science has shown that they do have added and often remarkable health benefits.
Using herbs and spices in cooking can also transform a dish in an instant. With so many varieties on the market, it made sense to include some information in this book.
Experimenting with herbs and spices can be great fun and way to get more creative in the kitchen.
When following a recipe it is important to use exact measurements of some herbs and spices so as not to over-power a dish, however, if you want to experiment with new varieties the trick is to add a little at a time, after all you can always add more but once it is added you can’t take it away.
One of the most widely used spices in the world, often found in baked dishes, pastries, puddings and some savoury dishes. Great with pancakes and sprinkled over rice pudding.
Cinnamon helps fight inflammation, has been shown to lower cholesterol and is a potent antioxidant. It also has an amazing effect on blood sugar and can lower fasting blood sugar by 10-29% in diabetic patients. It also slow down the breakdown of carbohydrates, improving insulin sensitivity.
Often used in indian cooking, for its yellow colouring, giving a rich yellow colour to curries and is also used to make savoury (yellow) rice.
Turmeric is another powerful antioxidant and contains curcurmin, which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and can relieve arthritis. .It is also said the turmeric improves brain function, helps fight against Alzheimer's, reduces the risk of certain cancers and heart disease.
Cayenne pepper is from the chilli family and is often used in spicy dishes. It can liven up a casserole or stir fry but be careful not to use too much as it can be quite hot.
The active ingredient in cayenne pepper is capsaicin which has been shown to increase fat burning as well as reducing appetite. Its is believed to have anti-cancer properties.
Paprika is very popular in Hungarian food and is widely used throughout Spain and Turkey. Made from ground peppers, it can also be bought in sweet and smoked varieties. It’s not as hot as chilli and provides a rich flavour and colour to many dishes.
Paprika is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties as well as aiding autoimmune deficiency, diabetes, eye health and keeps the heart strong.
Garlic is widely used throughout the world. It has a distinct smell due to a compound called allicin. It is a very tasty additions to many recipes and mixes well with other spices and many herbs. Try adding it to soups, sauces, savoury dishes and sauces.
Garlic was widely used throughout history for its medicinal properties. It is well known for helping combat sickness as well as the common cold. It’s medicinal benefits have been attributed to the formation of sulphur compounds which are formed as it is crushed or chopped. Containing vitamins B6, C, manganese and selenium, means the benefits of eating garlic include reducing high blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, preventing cardiovascular disease as well as some cancers.
Parsley is a versatile herb, often used in soups, savoury dishes, in tomato based sauces and combines well with garlic, due to the fact it can help prevent bad breath (halitosis).
It’s powerhouse properties are known to help fight skin cancer, diabetes, boost the immune system and promote bone health. Known as a natural antibiotic, it helps to detoxify the body and keep the heart healthy, gives a clearer complexion as well as relieving arthritis.
Thyme is used in many dishes, especially in breads, tomato based sauces, soups and sauces. It is particularly good with red meats as well as with potato dishes.
The leaves, flowers and oils derived from thyme have been used to relieve stomach and digestive problems as well as colic and flatulence. A natural diuretic, thyme is also used medicinally to fight infections such as sore throats, bronchitis and whooping cough.
Rosemary is often used in conjunction with thyme and tastes great with red meats, tomato based dishes, soups, breads and potato.
The oil from rosemary is believed to prevent baldness, promote hair growth, slow down graying and relieve dry scalps. In addition this lovely herb promotes increased brain function, preventing alzheimer's and dementia, detoxifies the liver, balances hormones, reducing stress as well as preventing some cancers.
Oregano is a deliciously flavoured herb and tastes great in italian cuisine as well as for garnishing pizzas.
Oregano has been used medicinally for treating gastrointestinal disorders, menstrual cramps, respiratory and urinary tract disorders. It is often used in lotions and creams to treat skin conditions such as acne and dandruff.