Wednesday, November 26, 2014

5 Healing Spices

Professor Bharat B. Aggarwal in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center lists five healing spices (cinnamon, turmeric, coriander, fennel seed, ginger) that can do wonders for your health, and guides us in how to put them to good use. A while back, I wrote about the super tea which includes three of these, and I still drink this tea on a daily basis.

When I was growing up in India, spices were not just a part of every meal, they were the main medicines my family used for everyday healing. My mother cooked with brilliant yellow turmeric powder daily, but she’d also sprinkle it on a cut when I hurt myself. Or put it on my forehead when I had a fever. If I was nauseated, my mother gave me ginger to make me feel better. If I couldn’t sleep, she gave me coriander in warm milk. On sweltering summer days, she made our family a refreshing drink out of kokum, an Indian spice that would cool us off as instantly as if we were all standing under a waterfall. It seemed like almost every spice in our giant spice cabinet was a food and a medicine.


Back in 1995, when I started investigating turmeric, there were fewer than 50 published scientific studies on the healing potential of spices. Today, there are thousands. Worldwide, researchers have discovered that spices contain compounds that fight oxidation and inflammation, the two processes underlying most chronic disease. Countless studies have linked culinary spices to the prevention and treatment of more than 150 health problems. These studies have not escaped the attention of the FDA and the NIH — but our government is not acting fast enough to inform the public that the typical American diet is sorely lacking in spices. To me, it seems astonishing that spices are not even mentioned in the USDA’s food guidelines!

Many people talk about including whole foods — such as vegetables, legumes and fruits — in one’s diet, but the real secret to preventing disease and prolonging life is a diet rich in whole foods and spices.

Featured image: via WholeYum.

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