Top 10 Must-Have Spices That Will Improve Your Health

Every kitchen must have a special corner for its most precious spices that add extra bit of flair to any meal.

There is a massive range of spices that is almost impossible for one cook to know all of them.

When it comes to spices, it is really confusing to know what you should have in that special corner of your kitchen.

There are some spices which are a must have in every kitchen, and are excellent addition to any meal. Spices are calorie-free, and require no preparation. The best thing to know about them is that they give us a variety of health-promoting benefits.

Top 10 Must-Have Spices

Here is a list of top 10 spices every kitchen should have. Find out which of these spices will perfectly incorporate into your diet for maximum benefits.

1. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper is used as a medicinal food for centuries, due to its proven health benefits. Just a small amount of cayenne pepper a day does a lot to your overall health. It can fire up metabolism and burn extra calories and fat by up to 25%. This is a result of Capsaicin, the compound that gives cayenne its burn. This spice is used in many recipes because of its ability to add heat and peppery flavor.

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Cayenne pepper has a long list of benefits. It has a cleansing effect on the body, and is often used in detoxification programs. One amazing benefit is that it stimulates the digestive tract, although it is spicy and it seems counterintuitive that acts as a soothing agent. This spice is known as an anti-cold and flu agent, joint-pain reliever, and it also prevents headache, and promotes heart health.

Cayenne pepper taste: Cayenne pepper has a hot pepper taste, and brings heat to many “Spicy” dishes.

2. Turmeric

This orange spice has been valued for its medicinal properties for thousands of years, because it has been shown to reduce triglyceride levels, keep blood sugar levels stable, boost fat-burning, and fight inflammation in the body. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, there is a long list of conditions and disorders that can be cured with its help. It treats the symptoms of arthritis, soothes the digestive system, but its anti-cancer benefits make it nature’s miracle spice.

Turmeric can be most often seen in curries, mixed with other spices, when blended flavor is desired.

Turmeric taste: This spice has a very interesting taste and aroma. Its flavor is peppery, bitter and warm, while its fragrance is mild.

3. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a sweet spice most often used in baking and making desserts, like cinnamon rolls, or delicious applesauce. Besides that, it has several health benefits which make it even more wanted.

This natural sweetener reduces your feeling of hunger, which means it can make you feel fuller for longer, and also minimizes the production of insulin after you eat. This means that it doesn’t allow the insulin turn excess sugar into fat, and boosts your metabolism, a combination that helps in weight loss.

With its antiseptic properties, cinnamon helps cleanse the body of bacteria that shouldn’t be there. Besides that, its anti-inflammatory properties make it cancer preventer.

Cinnamon taste: Cinnamon has a unique taste, it doesn’t remind of anything else, so there is no other way to describe it.

4. Ginger

The popularity of ginger has increased over the years, and now you can find it in a lot of recipes. Its cleansing properties allow ginger to be known as an effective anti-cancer food. Ginger root is used to help in the battle of cancer, so that it stops the growth of cancer cells, and sometimes even kills them.

Ginger enhances thermogenesis and reduces feelings of hunger, especially when it is consumed fresh. This spice can also reduce the muscle pain caused by workout, because of its anti-inflammatory property, and the ability to block nerve pathways that process pain.

Ginger taste: When consumed fresh and directly on its own, it can be quite spicy. But when used in combination with other foods while cooking it will add a bitter-sweet taste to the meal.

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5.  Curry

Although it’s a tasty spice mixture, curry is definitely worth having it in your kitchen, as a source of many health benefits. Choose your favorite recipe, and enjoy the variety of healthy spices added to this amazing powder.

The most common and valuable ingredients of curry powder are following: turmeric, cardamom, cumin, coriander, basil, and red pepper. Other ingredients that are occasionally added, depending on the specific recipe, are ginger, fennel seeds, garlic, cinnamon, or mustard seeds, all of which have individual health benefits. We will pay attention on the benefits from the most abundant form of curry powder. The main reason curry is so beneficial is exactly that combination of many different spices.

Curry powder has been characterized with anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as anti-cancer properties. It also reduces the chances of Alzheimer’s disease and gives extremely powerful boost to your bones, particularly as you age, with the help of the essential vitamins and minerals it contains.

Curry taste: Curry actually is a mixture of up to 20 different herbs and spices, so the taste depends on the blend used. We must emphasize that turmeric is most often used, to give it specific flavor and color.

6. Cumin

This spice is popular in India, Mexico, South America and Middle East, and can be found in any curry blend. Most people associate it to tacos, because it’s the main ingredient in most taco seasoning packets.

It is loaded with iron, and only one tablespoon of this spice fulfills 22% of your daily need of this mineral and keeps your energy level high. Cumin is protective against memory loss, and the damaging effects of stress on the body, and boosts your brainpower. It also has high antioxidant content, and recent studies found it more effective than other antioxidants, including Vitamin C.

It is used as a digestive aid, and provides important minerals like phosphorus, thiamine, and potassium. Cumin increases insulin sensitivity, and has anti-asthmatic properties, but the safest way to take care of your health is to ask a doctor first if you want to increase the consumption of this spice.

Cumin taste: This spice has a specific taste that’s earthy, nutty and slightly peppery, with bitter undertones and a warm, lemon aroma. We recommend to use just a small amount of it while cooking, as it is quite strong.

7. Oregano

Only one teaspoon of oregano contains six micrograms of vitamin K, and also the same amount of antioxidants as three cups of spinach. Oregano keeps the food from multiplying bacteria which causes stomach flu, or other illness.

The most of the benefits that oregano gives to our health can be seen when using it fresh. It is full of vitamins, minerals, omega-3, and fiber. Combining it with vegetable salad that already contains vitamins and minerals, you’ll get most of its nutrients. It goes perfectly with different kinds of food, so it is never too late to start using more of it.

Oregano taste: One version of oregano has more bitter taste, while others may have minty taste. Also, a warm, balsamic and spicy taste could be noticed, depending on its version.

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8. Rosemary

Hannah El-Amin, RD, a dietitian at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, gives comprehensive explanation of the importance of keeping rosemary in our kitchen. Cooking at high temperatures produces compounds called heterocyclic amines, which are actually harmful free radicals that may cause cancer. A study at Kansas State University found that marinating meat in a mixture made with rosemary as its main ingredient, before cooking it, prevents the creation of those harmful free radicals by 84%.

Rosemary is usually consumed in order to provide proper functioning of the immune system. That helps immune system fight against short-term dangers (cold, or flu), as well as long-term risks (cancer, or hearth disease).

It calms down your digestive system, especially if you have some stomach trouble. Another advantage of using rosemary is that it improves circulation of the body, which additionally helps with hearth health and cardiovascular system in general. By getting more blood to the brain it improves brain function as well.

Rosemary taste: Rosemary’s taste is a little bit cooling, woody, and minty, with a strong aroma it is also warm and peppery. It is used to intensify the flavor of chicken, fish, potatoes, cheese and onions. Unlike many other seasonings, rosemary doesn’t lose any of its strong flavor or aroma during cooking.

9. Saffron

Saffron has many health benefits, which can be seen when using a saffron extract, and not the saffron you see in stores along with spices. However, it’s definitely worth consuming, because of its powerful impact on your health.

It has been shown to be an effective treatment for clinical depression, as a serious condition. Another advantage of using saffron is that it eases menstrual cramping and pain. Saffron extract also helps with degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, and can be used instead of drugs, due to its effectiveness.

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Saffron taste: Many people wonder what saffron tastes like, since this is the most expensive spice in the world. Saffron taste is really, really hard to explain, some people say that it tastes slightly bitter to them, while others claim that it adds sweet taste to the dishes, similar to honey. Be careful with saffron, don’t use too much of it, as it can become too bitter, and you won’t be able to enjoy your meal.

10. Basil

Fresh basil is overloaded with health benefits, from shoring up your DNA, to boosting your cardiovascular health. Try growing your own basil to consume it as fresh as it can be in order to take the best of it.

Protect your body at the highest level with this antibacterial agent, which removes harmful bacteria, but allows helpful bacteria to progress.

Basil taste: The best way to boost the flavor of your meals is to add some basil. It can taste somewhat like peppery anise or even sweet or lemony depending on the variety you buy. The best dish that emphasizes its amazing flavor is pesto, as basil is the basic ingredient.

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