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7 Reasons Why You Need Herbs And Spices In Your Diet

7 Reasons Why You Need Herbs And Spices In Your Diet

Herbs and spices are ingredients with powerful protective health effects. Spices like turmeric, black pepper, cloves, and ginger, and herbs like rosemary, sage, and oregano can prevent diseases like cancer, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and digestive problems. They are packed with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that support all the systems in your body.

Nutrition is key in disease prevention. Whole foods can fight and prevent chronic diseases and improve the quality of your life. Herbs and spices are powerful additions to your diet because they protect many organs and systems in your body. Their most notable health benefit is they can reduce the risk of many forms of cancer, like skin, colon, gastric, bone, prostate, lung, tongue, and breast cancer.

What makes herbs and spices special are the unique compounds that fight free radicals, reduce oxidative stress, lower inflammation, prevent the formation of tumors, protect your DNA, have antimicrobial effects, and balance your blood sugar and digestion. Adding them to your diet on a daily basis protects your health in the long term and reduces the risk of cardiovascular, cerebral, metabolic, and digestive disorders. The benefits of herbs and spices are impressive:

1. Cancer prevention

Turmeric, fennel, ginger, fenugreek, red chili, black cumin, rosemary, kokum, and Asian ginger have been found to be protective against many forms of cancer (1). The compound capsaicin, found in red chili, can suppress the formation of cancerous cells in the skin, colon, lung, tongue, and prostate. Gingerol, a compound found in ginger, can inhibit cancer cells in the gastric tract, breasts, and prostate. Fenugreek has a compound called diosgenin, which induces the death of cancer cells in colon cancer, bone cancer, and leukemia.

Curcumin, a component in turmeric and curry, prevents the formation of cancer cells and actively regulates mechanisms in your cells that could lead to cancer. In Asian ginger, there’s a component called zerumbone, which kills cancer cells in the prostate, breasts, and skin, with minimal damage to normal cells. Parsley contains a plant compound called apigenin, which can kill cancer cells effectively while keeping normal cells intact. Apigenin has potent anti-mutagenic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and purgative effects (2).

2 . Anti-diabetic effects

Fenugreek, cinnamon, and turmeric have been proven beneficial in the management of diabetes Fenugreek seeds can lower glucose levels, increase glucose tolerance, and reduce serum insulin levels. In one study, fenugreek consumption for 10-20 days lead to lower blood glucose, lower cholesterol, lower triglycerides and lower urinary sugar levels. The study concluded that consuming 25g of fenugreek seeds daily can be a supportive therapy in the management of diabetes (3). Turmeric can suppress the increase in blood glucose in type 2 diabetes (4). Cinnamon can halt the progress of hypertension in type 1 and 2 diabetes (5).

3. Brain Protection

Sage, ginseng, and ashwagandha show neuro-protective and cognition-enhancing properties. Sage can improve memory and attention in younger adults at a dosage of 333 mg (6). Ashwagandha can protect neurons and glial cells against oxidative damage (7). Ginseng can improve memory, learning performance, motor activity, and protect against Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease because it promotes neuron survival, supports neuron growth, and fights neurotoxicity (8).

4. Atherosclerosis Prevention

Turmeric, black pepper, garlic and coriander have powerful heart-healthy benefits and anti-atherosclerotic effects. Turmeric can reduce cholesterol and triglycerides and diminish platelet aggregation and endothelial dysfunction, while increasing HDL (“good”) cholesterol (3). Black pepper can significantly decrease total levels of cholesterol, free fatty acids, phospholipids and triglycerides. Garlic consumption can increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol, and reduce lipids, blood sugar and platelet accumulation in arteries. Coriander seeds significantly lower cholesterol and triglycerides, while coriander leaves can diminish platelet aggregation (9).

5. DNA Protection and Repair

Paprika, rosemary, ginger, heat-treated turmeric, sage, and cumin can prevent DNA strand breaks by fighting oxidative damage (10). Paprika prevented the most DNA strand breaks after only 8 days of consumption. The curcumin in turmeric can repair breaks in your DNA cell strands. Since heat-treated turmeric has the most impact, eat it cooked to reap the benefits. Rosemary is effective at fighting toxic activity in DNA strands.

6. Anti-inflammatory Effects

Research shows that both cooked and uncooked rosemary, sage, thyme, cinnamon, clove and nutmeg can inhibit and protect against inflammatory agents and enzymes that damage many systems in your body, while lemon grass, rosemary and thyme can enhance the activity of an anti-inflammatory enzymes (11). Both thyme and oregano essential oils were found to reduce tissue damage in the colon that was caused by inflammation (12). These anti-inflammatory effects can protect you against chronic inflammatory diseases like asthma, hepatitis, colitis, and sinusitis (13).

7. Improved Digestion

Ginger, chamomile, and turmeric can enhance digestion and treat digestive problems. Ginger stimulates gastric emptying, which speeds up digestion (14). Chamomile is effective at treating colic and diarrhea (15). When turmeric is mixed with other spices such as coriander, red chili, black pepper, and cumin it can stimulate bile flow and bile acid secretion, which improves digestion (4).

Are you eating enough herbs and spices?

Adding herbs and spices to your diet is easier than you think. You can make tea with dried or fresh peppermint, chamomile, ginger, and turmeric. You can add extra turmeric powder to curries, sautéed vegetables, and stews. You can infuse your oils with rosemary, oregano, and sage – or add them to roasted vegetables. Fenugreek seeds make a great addition to your smoothies and oatmeal. Add chopped parsley or coriander to your salads.

Wishing u good health…naturally…

To your health | a votre santé| uf diini gesundheit

lisa Fouladi

registered clinical nutritionist

ba dip ion fd/sc mbant ntcc cnhc

References:

  • this blog post was published on http://www.hintsa.com/blog/2017/3/15/7-reasons-to-add-herbs-and-spices-to-your-diet on march 16 2017

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    Functional Nutrition is a progressive, science-based approach that blends individual nutritional counselling with laboratory testing. Its focus is uniquely holistic, assessing the way in which the food we eat affects our bodies on a cellular level. Through functional nutrition, health concerns and imbalances are both identified and able to be addressed, leaving us to embrace life as our best functioning selves.

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