Food, Healthy, Healthy food choices, Healthy lifestyle, Human body, Healthy food choices, Wholefood, Organic
Foods,  Guidance,  Recipes,  Research,  Wellness

Main spices and herbs I always keep in my pantry

Every time I am cooking, I think about the herbs and spices I want to add to the dish. I imagine the taste I want to get in the end and I begin to combine and season to taste. I must confess that I am not a professional cook. My starting point is not to take into account how the unique flavor and essence of each herb or spice can make or break a dish, nor how I can better highlight the natural flavors of the food I am preparing with their addition or omission. My attention is focused primarily on taking advantage of the beneficial properties they can provide, and on varying the flavor of each meal.

Fortunately for our health, we have reintroduced the art of cooking with herbs and spices to replace ingredients such as salt and sugar and we not only use them for simple flavoring. We again recognize them as extraordinary sources of amazing nutrition; a nutrition that focuses on eating natural, fresh, organic foods, which possess a number of beneficial properties and that are consumed with the intention of preventing illnesses and maladies and maintaining our bodies in a wholesome and healthy state. Herbs and spices not only improve the taste of recipes and culinary creations, they are also powerful providers of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory agents, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic and anti-viral properties. They are a rich source of nutrients, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and more. Some of their benefits even include their ability to aid in improving brain function, boost the immune system, lower high blood pressure, fight infections, and promote skin health and digestion, among others.

 

Food, Healthy, Healthy food choices, Healthy lifestyle, Human body, Healthy food choices, Wholefood, Organic

 

The difference between herbs and spices

 Herbs

Herbs refer to any green or leafy parts of a plant that are used to season and provide flavor in cooking. They can be sweet or savory in flavor and are not usually used as the main ingredient. Some cultures use them for health purposes, pest control or in fragrances. We can find them fresh and dried.

Spices

Spices are seasonings obtained from roots, rhizomes, bark, dried buds, seeds, stigma, fruits or flower parts and are used to add flavor, color and taste to food. They also have the potential to be used as preservatives due to their antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Some cultures use them as remedies for various ailments. We can find them dried and it’s better to buy them whole and then grind them before using, thus we keep their flavor. For grinding we can use a coffee grinder or mortar and pestle.

Storage

We should keep herbs and spices in a cool, dark and dry location. If we expose them to heat, light or dampness, we destroy their flavor, and in the case of spices, their chemical compounds that account for their health-promoting effects (mainly phytonutrients).

  • We should keep fresh herbs in a glass of water or wrapped in a damp towel and stored in the refrigerator.
  • We should store dry herbs and whole spices in an air-tight, opaque container. The dried herbs can last up to six months and the whole spices up to two years.
  • We should avoid buying spice blends. Instead, we should by the spices individually and then blend them at home. We gain better quality and freshness, and it is much cheaper.
Cooking

Many recipes call for herbs as an ingredient. We have to pay attention if they have to be dried or fresh. We often have to add dried herbs during the cooking process to impart flavor, while when we use fresh herbs we often have to add them once cooking has been completed.

A list of preferred herbs and spices varies enormously depending on culture, custom or a person’s personal preferences. Depending on different traditions and customs, we can find many options to flavor and season the same dish. I created the following list taking into account my own preferences for flavors and combinations when cooking and baking. I also thought about the ease in finding them in supermarkets, specialty stores, and the respective cost of each one.

 

Food, Healthy, Healthy food choices, Healthy lifestyle, Human body, Healthy food choices, Wholefood, Organic

 

 Main herbs I always keep in my pantry

Basil

Some of its properties are anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. Some of its benefits include helping to fight coughs and colds, reduce stress, relieve pain, lower blood sugar, and soothe indigestion. It is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, like calcium, copper, iron, folate, magnesium, manganese, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins A, C and K.

Calendula

Some of its benefits include its ability to help fight skin irritations, relieve diaper rash, relieve toothaches, reduce inflammation and heal wounds.

Chives

Some of their properties are anti-bacterial and antiseptic. Some of their benefits include their ability to help lower cholesterol levels and the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Chives can also maintain mineral density in bones. They work as a natural bug repellant. They are a good source of calcium, folate, iron, potassium, and vitamin A and are also a rich source of vitamins C and K.

Cilantro

Some of its benefits include its ability to support digestion, protect against food poisoning, improve sleep, promote the detoxification of heavy metals, promote skin health, reduce anxiety, lower blood sugar levels, soothe skin irritations, and fight free radical damage that can lead to a number of degenerative diseases, among others. It is a rich source of vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium, manganese, vitamins C and K, as well as a source of dietary fiber.

Dill

Some of its properties are anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial. Some of its benefits include its ability to boost energy, fight against free radicals, inhibit fungal infections, and treat head lice and hemorrhoids. It is a very effective bug repellent and is a safer alternative to pesticides. It is a good source of minerals like calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese and potassium.

Oregano

Some of its properties are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-viral, and antiparasitic. Some of its benefits include the ability to fight allergies, reduce oxidative stress, speed up the process of toxin elimination, fight infections, and promote bone health, among others. It is a great source of calcium, fiber, iron, manganese, and vitamins E and K.

Parsley

Some of its properties are antioxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory. Some of its benefits include the ability to reduce bad breath, fight skin problems, boost the immune system, balance hormones, act as a diuretic, reduce oxidative stress, relieve joint pain, and relax stiff muscles, among others. It is a great source of vitamins A, C and K, folate, and iron.

Rosemary

Some of its properties are as an anti-cancer agent, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-stress, and antiseptic. Some of its benefits include the ability to ease stress levels, boost concentration, the immune system and memory retention, treat muscle aches and pains, reduce high blood pressure, fight against eczema, stimulate blood flow, and provide pain relief, among others. It is a good source of vitamin A.

Thyme

Some of its properties are anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Some of its benefits include the ability to boost the immune system, treat acne, fight cancer cells, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, act as a disinfectant, prevent food poisoning, and improve one’s mood, among others. It is a great source of vitamins and minerals like calcium, iron, manganese, vitamins A and C, and fiber.

 

Food, Healthy, Healthy food choices, Healthy lifestyle, Human body, Healthy food choices, Wholefood, Organic

 

Main spices I always keep in my pantry

Cardamom

Some of its properties are anti-bacterial anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant. Some of its benefits include its ability to help prevent cavities, fight bad breath, lower blood pressure and aid with digestive problems, like heartburn, diarrhea and constipation. It can help treat skin infections, prevent blood clots, and fight depression, among other things. It is a rich source of calcium, iron, manganese, vitamins A and C, and zinc.

Cayenne Pepper

Some of its benefits include its ability to support digestion, promote detoxification, relieve nerve and joint pain, and prevent blood clots, among others.

Cinnamon

Some of its properties are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Some of its benefits include its ability to boost the immune system, build strong bones, improve eye and skin health, reduce oxidative stress, help to lower blood sugar by slowing the breakdown of carbohydrates in the digestive tract and improving insulin sensitivity, improve brain function, fight infection, and eliminate pain, among others.

Clove

Some of its properties are anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and antiseptic. Some of its benefits include its ability to relieve pain, improve digestion, fight colds and congestion, clear acne, treat dry and itchy skin, and help with insomnia, among others. It is a rich source of fiber, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins.

Coriander seed

Some of its properties are antioxidant. Some of its benefits include its ability to help lower blood sugar levels, decrease blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and ease digestive issues. It is a good source of fiber.

Cumin seed

Some of its benefits include its ability to boost the immune system, promote detoxification, relieve respiratory conditions, promote skin health, fight infections and combat oxidative stress.

Curry

Some of its benefits include the ability to prevent or fight infections, lower cholesterol levels, support heart health, and prevent iron deficiencies, among others.

Garlic

Some of its benefits include its ability to fight diseases like cancer and diabetes, fight infections, and help improve low blood pressure levels.

Ginger root

Some of its properties are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Some of its benefits include its ability to boost the immune system, lower cholesterol levels, reduce joint and muscle pain, and support digestion, among others. It is a rich source of copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, phosphorous, potassium, and vitamins B6 and C.

Mustard seed

Some of its properties are anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Some of its benefits include its ability to help reduce inflammation that causes pain and swelling, help prevent or fight infections, and boost the health of our hair, heart and skin. It is a great source of vitamins A and B-complex, calcium, folate, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.

Nutmeg

Some of its properties are antioxidant and anti-fungal. Some of its benefits include its ability to help promote detoxification, regulate blood pressure levels, ease pain, improve hair and skin health, and boost cognitive function, among others. It is a great source of vitamins and minerals like copper, folate, magnesium, manganese, thiamin, and vitamin B6.

Turmeric

Some of its properties are anti-bacterial, anti-carcinogenic, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic, and that it’s an antioxidant. Some of its benefits include its ability to help blood flow in the body, skin conditions, depression, and serve as a cholesterol regulator, among others.

Vanilla extract

Some of its properties are anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. Some of its benefits include the ability to boost our mental health, improve cholesterol levels and reduce fevers.

 

In the end, having the pantry endowed with quality herbs and spices is a profitable and rewarding source for an investment in long-term good health. It is also a great option to be able to combine different types of flavors and thus vary the taste of the dishes that we create.

 

Food, Healthy, Healthy food choices, Healthy lifestyle, Human body, Healthy food choices, Wholefood, Organic

 

Clarification of concepts:

Antioxidants work by reducing levels of free radicals by donating electrons to them in order to neutralize them. They also help to reduce oxidative stress and rid the body of toxins.

 Free radicals are unstable molecules that contain at least one unpaired electron. Most molecules contain even numbers of electrons. Since electrons like to be in pairs, free radicals hunt around the body to steal electrons from cells to become a pair. This process is called oxidation and causes damage to parts of cells such as cell membranes, proteins and DNA.

 Anti-inflammatory: foods that help cells and substances activate and use their protective mechanisms against harm and threats to the body, mainly from the body itself. The inflammatory response is a series of defense signals and mechanisms that are generally triggered by the immune system when it recognizes foreign invaders and damage to tissue that must be kept under control or destroyed. It is also an important part of any healing process. Inflammation becomes problematic when the immune system gets out of control and causes excessive inflammation, or when it triggers the inflammatory response unnecessarily.

Phytonutrients: are protective compounds produced by plants in order to help protect themselves against environmental threats like predator insects, pollution and disease. These can also provide significant benefits for humans by consuming the antioxidants they contain and by stimulating anti-inflammatory processes. They help prevent disease and keep the body working properly.

 

 

 

Like all of you, I am a unique individual with particular needs that I have learned to listen to and that I have really acknowledged over the last 8 years. I’ve learned to focus on my energy levels, to observe my body’s reactions to food, situations and emotions, and to respond to them accordingly. I have learned to put myself beyond everything and to get to know myself for who I am, Tatiana. It has been a very constructive and arduous journey and one that has taught me to be patient and to give each change or modification time to take effect. This brief introduction is to tell you why I developed a deep interest in holistic nutrition due to many circumstances in my life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.