Courtesy of IVILLAGE.CO.UK
15 Herbs And Spices That Help You Live Longer
These flavour-boosting spices and seasonings pack a powerful health punch: they can ease pain, steady your blood sugar, soothe digestive upsets and more. (15 Photos)
Sage Strengthens Memory
A single dose of sage can instantly sharpen your memory skills, helping you recall names, places and other facts more quickly and accurately for at least three hours straight, say researchers at Britain’s University of Northumbria at Newcastle. How? Plant compounds called phenols block the breakdown of acetylcholine - a brain compound that’s essential for clear-headed thinking and the formation of new memories, the study authors say.
Try tossing 1/2 teaspoon of this dried herb into your next meal. Or, try this recipe for Butternut Squash Soup with Apple and Sage.
Turmeric Cuts Your Risk Of Diabetes
This exotic spice has a golden-yellow hue and slightly peppery, gingery taste. It’s wildly popular in Asian, Indian and African cuisines and if you’re not already a fan, here’s a great reason to try it: According to researchers at Thailand’s Srinakharinwirot University, adding as little as one teaspoon of turmeric to your daily diet could cut your risk of type 2 diabetes by as much as half.
Try our recipe for Toasted Curry Pumpkin Seeds!
Ginger Pummels Pain
Cardamom Can Lower Blood Pressurehis aromatic spice (it has a spicy, slightly citrusy flavor) is a popular addition to meat, rice and bread recipes in Arabian and Ethiopian cooking. Cardamom lovers also sneak this spice to hot coffee and tea to add a touch of sweetness and bring out their rich flavour. In a study published in the Indian Journal of Biochemistry and Biophysics, when folks with high blood pressure added cardamom to their daily diets it helped normalise their pressure readings in as little as 12 weeks.
Turns out cardamom relaxes the muscles lining blood vessels so they’re less likely to tighten up and cause blood pressure surges. The study-proven dose is roughly 1/2 teaspoon daily. Cardamom Coffee Can Cake, anyone?
Rosemary Helps Clear Congestion
If you’re feeling under the weather, adding 1/4 teaspoon of rosemary to a meal can ease congestion and sinus pressure, plus help speed your recovery from a bad head cold, says James Balch, M.D., author of Prescription for Natural Cures. Rosemary tastes great in omelets, herbed breads, roasted potatoes and poultry dishes. Or sip one cup of rosemary tea daily until your symptoms ease.
Simmer two tablespoons of dried rosemary in one cup of water for five minutes, then strain. For a fragrant fall or winter supper, try Chicken with Roasted Lemon and Rosemary Sauce.
Saffron Fights Depression
Three clinical trials at the University of Tehran suggest that eating a daily pinch (less than 1/10 of a teaspoon) of this golden-yellow spice eases depression for 75 percent of women, making it more powerful than many prescription antidepressants. Credit saffron’s crocin, an antioxidant that prods the brain to produce more mood-boosting serotonin. Saffron has a slightly sweet, earthy flavour, and it’s wonderful in seafood, rice, beef and tomato-based dishes.
That pinch will do just fine in this recipe for fish soup with saffron and fennel.
Tip: Saffron is sold as tiny threads and in powder form. If you choose the threads, soak in one tablespoon of water for an hour before using and add to your recipe (water, too).
Garlic Strengthens Immunity
Eating just one clove daily can cut your risk of infections (viral or bacterial) in half, say researchers at The Garlic Information Centre in Battle, East Sussex. This flavourful herb is packed with at least 33 different sulfur compounds - raw materials needed to build fast, powerful, germ-killing white blood cells, their studies show. Want a real booster?
Try this recipe for Wild Garlic and White Bean Curry.
Tip: Let chopped and crushed garlic “rest” for 10 minutes before cooking (air exposure allows garlic’s sulfur compounds to be converted into their most active form).
Cinnamon Revs Energy
Eating sugary or carb-laden fare (sodas, bread, bagels, sweets) causes sharp spikes and dips in blood sugar, which can exhaust the central nervous system and leave you feeling drained and sluggish. But research suggests sprinkling 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon onto your meals each day can slow sugar and carb absorption in the small intestine, improving blood sugar control by 29 percent and cutting your risk of draggy bouts of fatigue by as much as half.
Get your dose in the morning with these Whole Wheat Cinnamon Buns!
Peppermint Soothes Digestive Upsets
According to University of Maryland researchers, adding peppermint to a daily diet can help soothe indigestion, cramping, queasiness and other digestive ills for up to 60 percent of women. Peppermint’s menthol helps intestinal muscles contract properly and prods the gallbladder to release digestion-enhancing bile, the researchers say.
Tip: Sip two cups of peppermint tea daily or use one tablespoon of the fresh herb to in your favorite food and drinks. Minced peppermint leaves taste great in fruit salads, rice pilaf, chicken and lamb marinades, chocolate recipes, punches, iced teas and even plain water.
Nutmeg Calms Stress
In India, freshly-grated nutmeg has long been used to alleviate stress, anxiety and tension. And studies there show that this sweet spice’s blend of biologically active compounds mimic the antidepressant Prozac, calming nerves and chasing away funky moods in as little as 20 minutes. Just 1/8 teaspoon daily can do the trick, say Stanford University researchers. Try sprinkling it on cooked spinach, squash, cauliflower, pumpkin, sausage and veal dishes, or add it to quiches, sauces, custards, baked treats, mulled cider and hot chocolate.
Think nutmeg is just for sweets? Try it in this recipe for Roasted Fresh Ham with a Maple Spice Glaze.
Cayenne Speeds Weight Loss
This eye-watering spice is rich in capsaicin - the stuff that gives chili peppers their fiery kick. Research suggests just sprinkling 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne onto your heaviest meal of the day could help you effortlessly shed up to two pounds in one month. How? In their studies, when subjects enjoyed a cayenne-laced meal, they ate 70 fewer calories without even realising it.
Follow-up studies suggest that cayenne ups your body’s production of at least six different fat-burning proteins, helping you shed eight percent more flab than if you’d noshed blander meals, instead.
Experiment with the heat of a little cayenne with this delicious recipe for Moroccan Burgers with Spiced Mayo!
Star Anise Relieve Gas
It’s perfectly normal to pass gas 14 to 20 times daily, say UCLA researchers. But if you’d rather not be that 'normal,' try chewing 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of anise seeds (which taste a lot like licorice) after your two biggest meals of the day.
According to a Mexican research team, this simple trick can help quash gassiness in as little as 48 hours. Anise seeds are 75 percent anethole, which spurs the release of digestive enzymes, improving food breakdown so that gas formation doesn’t occur. Plus it helps break up large, painful gas bubbles, says Balch.
You can find star anise in the Asian section of the grocery store, or in a specialty Asian foods market.
Try IVillage.Uk's recipe for you could try spicing up a bit of pork with this recipe for roast pork with spiced apple.
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