07 November 2010

9 Spices to Improve Health, Energy and Longevity

According to Dr. Maoshing of Ask Dr. Mao site, there are 9 spices to "spice" up our health, energy and longevity. It is best to update your pantries to include the following and why you should include these spices on your next stop to the nearest grocery.

As pungent as it smells, it's potent effect in lowering blood pressure and helps ward off (not just Dracula!) bad cholesterol. It also acts as antibacterial so it is good in treating minor infections.

My father used to eat fresh garlic (at least 2 cloves only) when he had his heart attack as advised by the doctor. The garlic improved his health a great deal. Also, my recent vacation to Korea proved that garlic is indeed powerful. Garlic is also a staple in Korean dishes. No wonder, even the elderlies in Korea can still commute alone despite their age. 

I am not a fan of this spice. As a matter of fact, I try my best to avoid having this in my meal, drinks or desserts - if I can help it.

After reading Dr. Mao's article about this spice, I have changed my mind and decided to give this holiday-smelling spice a chance.

Cinnamon is said to lower blood sugar, improve blood pressure, lower cholesterol and improve brain function.  In addition to the many wonderful benefits of this spice, it is also great in detoxifying the system and fight bladder infections.

I don't have problem having this spice in my meal since I love eating Thai Curry Chicken and other viands prepared with curry and coconut milk.

This spice is very prominent in East Asia. My Indian friends here love preparing this food with a sprinkle of this tasty, yellowish powder.

Its benefits include improving the joints health, good anti-inflammatory aspect, anti-oxidant and helps prevent Alzheimer's disease due to its any-amyloid property. Amyloids are plaque-like proteins which builds up in the brain tissues responsible for causing Alzheimers Disease. 

Star Anise
As the name suggests, it is indeed a star-shaped spice. I have seen this spice when I have chicken biryani. Although I don't eat the star-shaped spice, I do love the flavor it adds up to the biryani meal.

This pretty-looking spice is not only flavorful, it helps ward off rheumatism, aid digestion and boosts immune system.

Okay, I am biased on this one because I really don't like this spice. It does not taste bad. In fact, it does taste flowery (that's how I perceive the taste to be) but it affects my buds when I eat something else even after I have brushed my teeth.

Cardamom is great in tea and again, my Indian friends prepare their chai with cardamom milk. Taste funny but it's actually good.

This spice has the ability to improve circulation and boosts one's energy level. Not only that, it helps improve asthma, bronchitis, halitosis, moods and is even considered an aphrodisiac in the Middle East. No wonder I see a lot of people here drinking cardamom milk! ;)

I haven't tasted this spice yet. I don't think I ever recall buying this spice when I cook meals at home. I think, the closest I get to having this at home is when I buy clove oil to cure my daughter's tooth ache which actually works!

Chewing clove will help alleviate tooth aches, sore throats, diarrhea and stomach cramps.

Here is another spice I am not familiar with. Although there are plenty of cumin here in the Middle East, I really haven't tried incorporating this spice in my dishes yet. I think I should in the future!

Cumin boosts immune system and improves liver function. It helps reduce flatulence and aids digestion.

Fennel Seed
This spice is good in aiding digestion and helps soothe the nervous system. This is a great spice to mix with recipes for meats, beans and legumes.

A nice and rather spicy spice is ginger. I love having this in my Chinese dishes especially when I am preparing chicken and shrimps.

Ginger is great in relieving nausea, arthritis, headaches, menstrual cramps and muscle soreness. Also, whenever I get itchy throat or feel like I am going to come down with a flu or have tonsilitis, I boil a fist-sized ginger with 3 cups of water and drink the ginger broth. It really helps and soothes my dry throat and wards off tonsilitis.

These spices are really beneficial; however, if you are considering having these spices to cure some of your ailment, it is wise to consult your physician. Example, garlic is good in itself if you have high blood pressure but if you are going to take ginger too as combination, it may thin you blood so much. Also, do not treat yourself on your own especially when combining spices. If you are going to have an operation then it is advisable not to take garlic, ginger or any spice which helps in lowering blood pressure.   

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