Benefits of Spices And Its Side Effects
Last Updated: Nov 30, 2023
The health benefits of spices are varied. They help make up for nutritional supplements, help strengthen the immune system and help control blood sugar and blood cholesterol levels. Spices also have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and they help prevent various diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cancer. Spices have the capability to eliminate any nutritional deficiencies that might be present in your body, thus helping restore correct functioning of the system. Spices contain many vitamins and minerals, which provide some of the most necessary elements for leading a healthy life.
Spices are fruits, roots, barks, seeds, or any other plant substance used primarily in flavoring, or for the coloring and preservation of food. Spices often have antimicrobial properties, and they are occasionally ground into powder for convenient usage. Spices are more commonly used in climates that are warm, since these climates are far likelier to have outbreaks of infectious diseases, as compared to climates that are comparatively colder or cooler. Spices are mostly used in religious rituals, medicines, perfumes and cosmetics, or as vegetables.
Nutritional Value of Spices
Spices generally have strong flavours, and due to the fact that they are used in small quantities, they don’t add a lot of extra calories to the food. Some spices contain considerable portions of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Spices like paprika contains a large amount of Vitamin A. If used in larger quantities, spices contain substantial amounts of iron, minerals, magnesium and calcium. Most spices are said to have antioxidant properties, and they also possess phenolic compounds such as flavonoids, which help in the absorption of nutrients.
Nutritional facts Per 100 Grams
Vitamins and Minerals
Health Benefits of Spices
Has anti-inflammatory properties
Spices generally have anti-inflammatory properties, which is why they are often recommended in cases regarding inflammation of certain body parts or nerves/tissues. Spices have been known to help reduce cancer, improve oral health and digestion, as well as help facilitate growth of bones and reduce blood pressure. Spices also act as an anesthetic or analgesic, in certain cases.
Acts as antioxidants
Spices are the best anti-oxidants to have around. They have exceptional antioxidant, antispasmodic, antiseptic, digestive, carminative and stimulant properties. As an anti-oxidant spices help increase oxygenation and circulation in the body, as well as helping boost the immune system. Not only are spices great sources of minerals, but they also help improve quality of the skin.
Helpful in boosting immunity system
Spices are extremely low in calories, but they are very useful in helping the body’s natural immune system. Spices not only boost the immune system, but they also help in reducing various illnesses, strengthening blood vessels and reducing blood clotting. Additionally, they help lower cholesterol levels, increase blood circulation, and prevent diseases like atherosclerosis, as well as cancer.
Spices are known for their ability to help regulate bowel movements, thus improving digestion and reducing problems related to the digestive system, such as indigestion and constipation. Spices are a great source of vitamins and minerals, and they help increase enzymatic activity in the human body. Spices are also known for their capability to lower cholesterol levels in the blood, as well as regulate insulin levels in the body.
Helps improve skin and hair
Spices have long been praised because of their ability to enhance the health of skin and hair. Spices are capable of improving the function of the nervous system, thus boosting immunity and blood circulation, which leads to healthier skin and hair.
Spices can help regulate the body’s metabolism efficiently. By helping regulate body metabolism, spices can effectively prevent diseases of the blood, such as anemia. Due to increased metabolism, the heart rate is also effectively controlled, and gastrointestinal cation is optimized.
Helps control diabetes
Many spices contain a compound called cinnamaldehyde, which is very effective in controlling blood sugar levels. By slowing down the rate of carbohydrate breakdown in the digestive tract, spices help improve insulin sensitivity. Repots have shown that certain spices such as cinnamon are capable of lowering blood sugar by around 25% in patients suffering from diabetes.
Improves memory and brain function
Spices such as Sage are very effective in helping improve brain and memory function. This spice has been shown to effectively improve brain function in people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is a result of the rapid drop in levels of acetylcholine in the brain, and spices help inhibit the breakdown of this compound, thus helping combat Alzheimer’s disease. Certain other spices can also improve memory function in people who are otherwise healthy.
Spices are very effective in preventing various infections caused by yeasts, molds and bacteria. Not only do spices improve the body’s immunity system, thus preventing infections from taking hold, but they also help in actively inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria in the human body.
Prevents allergies and helps fight nasal congestion
Certain spices such as rosemary contain specific compounds which help suppress allergic responses, as well as help treat any problems related to nasal congestion. This compound has anti-inflammatory properties as well. It helps fight nasal congestion by increasing the number of white blood cells in mucus, thus reducing and clearing up congestion in the tissues.
Improves heart health
Spices such as garlic are extremely helpful in reducing cholesterol levels, thus keeping the heart healthy. For people suffering from high cholesterol problems, adding garlic to their diets could very well help reduce cholesterol levels and prevent the onset of heart problems. Additionally, certain spices are also very useful in combatting diseases such as the common cold.
Uses of Spices
From deterring appearances by household pests to soothing the body and mind, spices have a huge variety of uses. Cooking without spices is almost unimaginable. The use of spices starts right from the kitchen, and moves on to medicinal uses as well. Not only do spices help add taste, flavor and color, consumption of spices has a plethora of health benefits. They possess anti-bacterial and antifungal properties, and also act as antioxidants. They help fight off various infections, and are known for boosting the immune system. Spices are generally used in small amounts, so the number of calories they add is almost negligible. This is why spices are used in large quantities in Indian homes, as their benefits are numerous, and they have no downsides or side effects at all.
Side-Effects & Allergies of Spices
Generally, spices have no known side effects. However, depending from person to person, allergic reactions can occur in people as a result of consumption of certain spices. These allergic reactions include, but are not limited to, occupational contact dermatitis, bronchial asthma, rhinitis and anaphylactic shock. Additionally, certain spices can react with certain medications and cause complications such as thinning of the blood, and formation of hemorrhoids. However, these are all quite rare, and the benefits of spices certainly outweigh its almost negligible side effects.
Cultivation of Spices
Since early human history, spices have been intricately linked to cultural traditions, preservation and medicinal usage. Around roughly 7000 years back, spices were an important component of India’s trade with China, Sumeria, Egypt, Arabia and Mesopotamia. Spices have their origin in India, and during ancient times, nations from all across the world embarked on long and perilous sea journeys in order to source different varieties of spices from the Indian subcontinent. Many wars were fought to gain control of trade routes with India, so that supply of spices could continue unhindered. India is now the largest exporter of spices. Spices generally need a warm, tropical climate to grow, with temperatures ranging around 10-30 degrees Celsius, and well-distributed annual rainfall of at least 300 cm. Spices can be grown on a variety of soils, ranging from sandy to clayey to loamy soils, depending on the requirements of specific spices.
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