Healthy, spicy, delicioso
Cinnamon: Helps soothe mild gastrointestinal conditions such as bloating and flatulence, and research indicates that a teaspoon of cinnamon daily may lower high blood sugar. For a spicy rub on salmon or scallops, mix 2 parts cinnamon, 2 parts cayenne pepper, 2 parts salt and 1 part sugar.
Garlic: May reduce the risk of heart disease by decreasing blood cholesterol, preventing clogged arteries, and lowering blood pressure; it also may reduce cancer risk. Place 10 garlic cloves and 1 cup of olive oil in a pot; simmer gently for 30 minutes. Cool and refrigerate for up to a week. Use the oil for garlic mashed potatoes, sauteed vegetables or vinaigrettes.
Cilantro: Considered an aid to the digestive system. It is an appetite stimulant and aids in the secretion of gastric juices. The essential oils of the cilantro leaves contain antibacterial properties and can be used as a fungicide. Rich in vitamin C. All parts of the plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and the dried seeds are the most commonly used in cooking.
Oregano: The oil made from oregano boasts numerous and varied health benefits. Its active ingredient, carvacol, is a natural compound that fights bacteria, fungus, parasites, and viruses. It’s used both internally and topically to treat all manner of infections, and there is even an increasing amount of scientific evidence to prove its effectiveness. When buying, look for bright bunches without blemishes.
Cumin: It is a stimulant as well as a great herb for digestive disorders and even as an antiseptic of sorts. The seeds are rich in iron and are thought to help stimulate the secretion of enzymes from the pancreas which can help absorb nutrients into the system. It has also been shown to boost the power of the liver’s ability to detoxify the human body. An aromatic spice with a distinctive bitter flavor and strong, warm aroma due to its abundant oil content.
Cayenne Pepper: Contains capsaicin, which blocks pain signals and may help deactivate nitrosamines and other carcinogens. But be moderate: Too much hot pepper may promote stomach cancer. Just a pinch of cayenne livens up chili, spaghetti sauce and vinaigrettes.
Stevia sweeteners: A natural, zero-calorie source of sweetness. They are composed of highly purified steviol glycosides, which are extracted from the sweetest part of the stevia plant. Like other low-calorie sweeteners, they are “intense” sweeteners, meaning a very small amount is required to achieve the desired sweetness. They are a suitable option for people with diabetes.
Turmeric: A popular spice contained in curry powder that has been studied primarily for the potential health benefits of its active polyphenolic component, curcumin. Curcumin gives turmeric its yellow pigment, which lends itself for use not only as a dietary spice, but also as a coloring agent. Curcumin has been studied for its potential to reduce risk of cancer, osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease. Curcumin has also demonstrated potent antioxidant activity.
Ginger: Quells nausea and vomiting caused by motion sickness or digestive problems. Great in tea. Simmer a finger of ginger, freshly grated, in 4 cups of water. Reduce by half and stir in honey to counter the herb’s heat. Or combine candied and raw ginger in muffins, cookies and spice cake.
Sweet basil: Was honored as the “2003 Herb of the Year” by the International Herb Society. Perhaps the only herb that tastes as good as it smells. It has soothing properties associated with the mint family to which it belongs, and is be used in herbal concoctions offering relief for nervous headaches and digestive complaints.