When you want to know how to eat healthy and improve your lifestyle, then adding few Indian spices to your diet is a great option. 5 basic ayurvedic spices that you must have in your pantry are:
- Turmeric : Bright yellow in color, Turmeric not only gives curries a lovely color but is full of excellent properties like its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-oxidant, anti-viral and anti-fungal. My mother always had a box of turmeric in our pantry and its common to use turmeric in Indian cooking. A few years ago when I discovered that Turmeric is being sold in medicinal stores in North America as a capsule, I was surprised. Why not just add a dash of this spice in your cooking today.
- Cumin : Popularly known as Jeera in Indian subcontinent is perhaps one of my favourite spices. Have you ever tried Jeera Biscuits, oh how you’ll love them :) In Ayurveda this common spice is used to treat different health problems due to its antiseptic, carminative, diuretic, antispasmodic, anti inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-flatulent properties. It is used in the treatment of various health problems like indigestion, amnesia, diarrhea, morning sickness, nausea, acidity, flatulence, stomach pain, common cold, cough, and insomnia.
- Coriander : Often called Dhaniya is used as leaves (cilantro leaves) for garnish and its seeds. It has small brown seeds which I personally find a little repulsive to bite into but love to roast and grind them and add it onto my vegetables. Next time you try an Indian vegetarian dish, flavour the oil with cumin and coriander powder and enjoy truly authentic curry. Coriander is used to treat health problems like arthritis, stomach gas, urinary tract infections, and nausea, mood swings associated with menstruation, menstrual cramping, bloating, anemia, irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, diabetes, bladder infection, intense itching, conjunctivitis, and eczema.
- Ginger : I love ginger Tea when I have coughs or colds. It is also effective for fighting flu, arthritis, headaches, heart disease, and poor digestion. Ginger has been known to alleviate nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness. Ginger also is a powerful anti-oxidant with cancer-fighting attributes that may even help prevent Alzheimer’s. So, a great reason to incorporate ginger in your cooking whether directly as a root or in its dried powdered form.
- Fennel : Fennel is a cooling spice and has small green seeds. Tastes a lot like Licorice but completely different. According to Ayurveda, fennel is extremely good for the digestion. Did you know that eating a few fennel seeds after a meal is a common practice in India. Fennel removes mucus and fat from the intestinal tract, and is a natural appetite suppressant.
It is one of the best herbs for digestion, relieving gas and indigestion or digestive weakness in the elderly or children. It strengthens agni without aggravating pitta. Fennel is calming for the nerves and provides mental alertness.
So, head to your nearest grocery store and stock up your pantry with these healing spices.