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Spices – The Unsung Heroes of Our Kitchen

Chances are that when you woke up this morning, you sprinkled some pepper on your breakfast or perhaps some cinnamon on your French toast or in your tea. As the day went by, some red chilli spruced up your lunch, cardamom aromatized your tea and turmeric snuck into your food unnoticed. Besides dignifying our spice rack, spices have permeated our everyday lives. Not a day goes by when their flavour doesn’t elevate our meals or their aroma doesn’t fill our rooms. After all, it was the world’s insatiable craving for spices that charted trade routes across the globe and altered the course of our lives forever. Although seldom celebrated, spices enhance our lives in countless ways.

Provide nutritional & medicinal value

Usually made from the seeds, barks or roots of plants, spices are rich in nutrition. Many of the spices are not only antioxidant-rich, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral but have innumerable health benefits. Spices contain bioactive compounds and micronutrients that help fight several diseases. A pinch of turmeric can fight cancer due to curcumin present in turmeric which is known to negate the growth of cancerous cells. Cinnamon, rich in antioxidants, iron and calcium, has been trusted to combat diabetes, tumour, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Help Manage Chronic Diseases

Adding cardamom to tea not only enhances the aroma and flavour but can also reduce high blood pressure, inflammation, ulcers and digestive problems. Chilli, green and red, can reduce cholesterol and heart troubles. Cumin powder when mixed with yoghurt can help manage blood cholesterol, high blood sugar and excessive weight. Fenugreek seeds, cinnamon, cloves and coriander powder are a boon for those struggling with diabetes. Consistent consumption of spices throughout our lives can keep several chronic diseases at bay.

Bring flavour & aroma to our plate

Spices can liven up even the blandest dishes and transform their taste. A hint of oregano sprinkled on top of a hot pizza can take to you to the gates of heaven. The crackling of cumin not only pleases the ears but lends food a strong taste and flavour. Not to forget the aroma of sizzling asafoetida and bay leaves cooking in hot oil that can arrest you right in your tracks. The flavours and aromas of certain spices remind us of our childhood and have become a vital part of our lives without even knowing.

Help in food preservation

We have grown so accustomed to refrigerators that it’s hard to remember a time when they didn’t exist. But do you know what preserved food for days when refrigerators didn’t exist? Yes, spices again. Pepper, mustard, cloves, oregano, ginger and turmeric are some of the safest food preservatives that can not only increase the food shelf life but also improve digestion, prevent cold and cough and boost metabolism.

The Bottom Line

Reach for your spice rack often and consistently, they will not only spruce up your meal but boost your health and fend off numerous diseases.

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