Spices are super foods packed with essential nutrients and medicinal properties that boost immunity naturally. They are rich in anti-oxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial compounds. Spices also aid in digestion and lead to better absorption of nutrients in our food.
Add spice to your life to heal, recover and protect your body from diseases by strengthening the immune system in a simple and natural way.
The best part about spices is their versatile usage. You can add them to cooked veggies, smoothies, salads, soups, juices, pasta and anything that you like.
Here are 5 amazing spices that boost immunity along with other health benefits.
Cinnamon is a super aromatic and nutritionally rich spice.
A compound called cinnamaldehyde is responsible for all the health benefits cinnamon contains.
The reason cinnamon is used in so many autumn delicacies is not only its flavor and aroma but its potency to shield our body from the infections caused due to seasonal changes.
Cinnamon health benefits
- Cinnamon has high content of powerful anti-oxidants called polyphenols that helps the immune system in protecting the body from toxins.
- Its anti-inflammatory effects lowers the risk of cancer and heart diseases.
- Cinnamon may also lower bad cholesterol and brings down blood pressure.
- Consumption of 1-5 grams of cinnamon daily may lower fasting blood sugar level as it has an anti-diabetic effect.
- Cinnamon has potent detoxifying effects in the body.
- It also protects the body from bacterial and fungal infections such as tooth diseases, bad breath and sore throat.
Cinnamon tea– Boil water in a pan and add a cinnamon stick to it along with a tsp of grated ginger. keep on low flame for 5 minutes. Strain, add lemon juice and honey(not if you want to bring down your sugar level).
Or simply add some cinnamon powder to your breakfast bowls, smoothies and rice dishes.
Cloves are a staple in Indian cuisine. They not only bring a distinct flavor but also bring warmth and aid in better absorption of nutrients.
Health facts and benefits of cloves
- Cloves are rich in manganese. An essential mineral for brain function and strong bones.
- Rich in anti-oxidants.
- It has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Cloves are immensely helpful in treating cough, cold and sore throat.
- The anti-microbial compounds in cloves promote oral health. It kills the bacteria causing plaque, gum diseases and tooth ache.
- May regulate blood sugar level as well.
Along with adding cloves to your rice dishes, porridge, marinades and curries. Here are few other ways of consuming them.
For dental benefits you can look for herbal mouth washes that contain clove oil as an ingredient. Another way is to massage the effected gum area with clove oil.
For cough and cold roast 2 cloves and keep them in your mouth for 10-15 minutes.
Make a soothing cup of clove tea by boiling 2-3 cloves in a cup of water. You can also add cloves to your regular cup of tea.
3 Black pepper
Black pepper is used worldwide as a staple spice. It is also termed as ‘King of spices’ due to its nutritional properties. It can be used whole, powdered and in oil form.
Health facts and benefits of black pepper
- Black pepper is rich in an anti-oxidant called piperine. This compound protects the body from heart diseases and premature aging.
- Piperine lowers inflammation in airways caused by asthma and allergies. Anti-inflammatory properties also protect the body against cancer and arthritis.
- Lowers cholesterol level and promotes gut health.
- Aids in better absorption of other nutrients like calcium and selenium.
Black pepper is the most versatile among the spices that boost immunity due to its bold and distinctive taste that enhances the flavor of any dish it is added to. You can add black pepper powder to eggs, pasta, soup, tea, smoothies, cooked vegetables, rice, porridge- the list is endless here!
Ginger root, ginger powder, grated ginger or ginger juice. Use it the way you’d like to and benefit from its numerous medicinal properties. It is a vital spice in Ayurveda(Holistic Indian medicine science).
Benefits and health facts of ginger
- Ginger is most commonly used to improve digestion, relieve constipation, bloating and acidity due to its anti-inflammatory and soothing properties. It keeps the gut healthy by supporting the steady flow of digestive juices.
- Relieves headache and menstrual cramps.
- Very effective in fighting cold and cough due to anti-viral and anti-bacterial compounds.
- Treats any kind of nausea such as morning sickness in pregnant women, nausea related to chemotherapy and vomiting sensation due to bloating.(pregnant women should consult their doctor before consuming ginger).
- Aids weight loss. Ginger water is detoxifying and helps to loose weight.
- May lower blood sugar level and reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol level.
You can add grated ginger to your cooked dishes or soups. To improve digestion peel and cut a small piece of ginger root, sprinkle some salt and lemon juice on it and chew it with or right after your meals.
You can add ginger to green tea, black tea or any other herbal tea.
For cough and sore throat, Take a tbsp. of ginger juice, mix it with a tsp of honey, add a pinch of cinnamon powder and black pepper to it. Take 1/4th tsp of this concoction thrice a day to sooth irritated throat.
Turmeric is a bright yellow spice, common to the Indian subcontinent not only for its culinary purposes but also due to its medicinal potency. It has now gained popularity in the west as well and was recently termed as a super food.
Health benefits of turmeric
- The active compound called curcumin in turmeric helps in reducing inflammation in the body and inflammation is the root cause of arthritis, cancer, gut and heart related diseases.
- The anti-oxidants in turmeric fight free radicals(toxic substances) that can cause cell damage and helps in renewal of healthy cells.
- Curcumin increases neurotrophic factor- a hormone that helps in better functioning of the brain. Reduced levels of this hormone can cause depression and Alzheimer’s therefore turmeric helps in keeping the brain healthy.
- Turmeric is anti-bacterial which helps to fight flu and seasonal infections. It also aids in quick recovery of injuries. If applied topically, turmeric treats pimples by killing acne causing bacteria.
Along with adding turmeric powder in your curries and marinades, here are 2 other ways to consume this super spice to boost immunity.
Turmeric milk– Heat a cup of milk and add a pinch of turmeric powder to it. You can also add a pinch of ground cardamom powder, pinch of black pepper and sugar to enhance the taste and benefits. This spiced milk is great to boost immunity during winters.
Turmeric tea– Boil 2 cups of water and add 1 tsp of turmeric powder to it. Simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and your tea is ready. Add honey for sweetness and increased anti-bacterial properties. other optional ingredients are grated ginger, black pepper and ghee. The good fat in ghee helps to absorb curcumin better.
[Related post-Quick and easy Turmeric remedies for all skin types]
Though there are few other spices that boost immunity but these 5 are the most easily available and convenient to consume. They possess numerous health benefits and have the ability to strengthen the immune system by nourishing the body with essential nutrients and raising its defense mechanism.
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