7 Delicious Spices and Herbs with Effective Health Benefits
Malaysian cuisine is not only colorful, delicious, and flavorful—their spices also pack a long list of health benefits. Below we have listed some of the most common spices in a Malaysian pantry and their medicinal characteristics. Use them in everyday dishes to make your meals more delectable and healthier.
Great for adding a punch of bright orange color to your dish, turmeric belongs to the ginger family and is harvested from the curcuma longa plant’s root. It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for treating arthritis, stomach pain, diarrhea, heartburn, intestinal gas, loss of appetite, and stomach bloating.
2. Black Pepper
Black peppercorns aid in digestion and can resolve congestion and an upset stomach. They contain antioxidant vitamins A and C, as well as carotene, cryptoxanthin, lycopene, and other flavonoid polyphenolic antioxidants that remove harmful free radicals from the body, thereby protecting it against cancers and diseases.
These little green pods counteract digestive problems such as bloating, gas, and heartburn. Recent initial studies show that cardamom has cancer fighting effects, particularly against skin cancer (non-melanoma). It is an excellent source of manganese and iron, which is essential to red blood cell formation as well as cellular metabolism.
Resembling tiny flowers, cloves are widely used in Malaysia, Indian, and Middle Eastern dishes. It helps resolve diarrhea, nausea, gas and other such stomach issues. This spice also contains lots of iron, manganese, selenium, magnesium, and potassium, which helps control blood pressure and heart rate. Beyond culinary applications, cloves are widely used in toothpastes, perfumes, and soaps and has shown to help relieve pains and aches when applied topically.
Research suggests that cinnamon helps people with type 2 diabetes regulate their condition because it increases insulin action. This bark-like spice can also lower blood sugar levels and even reduce risk factors of heart disease.
Rich in antioxidants and phyto-nutrients, fennel is believed to help prevent cancer cells from forming and multiplying. It’s a good idea to incorporate it into your diet. Try a fresh salad with fennel bulbs or a tomato and fennel soup if you want to make delicious and healthy entrees your family can enjoy.
This spice is widely known for aiding digestion, but its health benefits go beyond that. Cumin seeds are rich in Thymoquinone, a compound that helps prevent prostate cancer.
A word of advice: If you’ve never tried any of these spices before, check with your doctor before you use them in your cooking. This is especially important if you are currently taking any medicines.
About the Author:
This article is written by Brandon, who is the sales manager at Hexa Food Sdn. Bhd. It is HALAL and HACCP Certified food manufacturing company that supply herbs, spices and seasoning products in Malaysia at affordable rates.