Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Spice Tips and Health Benefits

It’s important to periodically check your seasonings to make sure that they aren’t getting too old. Here is a guide, according to McCormick spices. 
• Extracts: 4 years (except for pure vanilla, which lasts indefinitely)
• Ground spices: 2-3 years
• Herbs: 1-3 years
• Seasoning blends: 1-2 years
• Whole spices (such as cinnamon sticks and peppercorns): 3-4 years

When you think of herbs and spices, you probably think of cooking and adding them to add some flavor to your cuisine. Instead of being stored in your kitchen cabinet, you might want to consider keeping them in your medicine cabinet. Herbs and spices have been used for centuries for teas, compresses and other medicinal purposes. 

Herbs and spices come from plants, so what’s the difference between them? 

• Herbs – the leafy, green part of a plant.
• Spices – the bark, berries, fruit, root, seeds or other parts of the plant.. 
Together, along with healthy food choices can help support your health and wellness. Use herbs and spices to replace regular table salt and artificial chemicals. 

While you think of using cinnamon in your baking or on your oatmeal, cinnamon has been shown to lower your glucose, triglyceride and cholesterol levels. It can also help with menstrual cramps and acts as a blood thinner. If you have frequent UTIs, you might want to increase the cinnamon in your diet. Dill, peppermint and thyme are herbs that are loaded with antioxidants. Other alternative, holistic, disease-fighting and natural healing ingredients hiding in your kitchen includes: 

• Allspice - Digestion. If you experience flatulence and/or diarrhea, you might want to give allspice a try. It's also helpful in a compress for arthritis.

• Basil - Multi-use. Basil is loaded in vitamins A & C, as well as phosphorus and calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium. It can have a positive impact with your eyesight, hair and your cardiovascular system. Use in a tea to help with digestive issues, headaches or fever.
• Cardamom - Indian spice. Great to use when you are experiences indigestion, gas and colic. Also has a warming effect on your body.
• Chili Powder - Anti-inflammatory. Capsicin, has anti-inflammatory benefits that can help relieve achy joints and arthritic swelling. 
• Coriander - Also known as cilantro. Frequently used in Mexican food and is a great source of iron, magnesium and manganese as well as phyto chemicals. It is also great to help remove toxins from the body. 
• Curry Powder - Protects your brain. Contains curcumin which may help fight Alzheimer's. 
• Feverfew - Migraines. If you suffer from migraines, make a tincture of feverfew to see about getting relief.
• Garlic - Helps your heart. Garlic consumption has the potential to lower your triglyceride and total cholesterol levels. It also increases your "good" cholesterol.
• Ginger - Anti-inflammatory. Create a compress and use on your chest for allergies, colds, and bronchitis, on your abdomen for cramps and on inflamed joints. Also great in a tea.
• Ginkgo Biloba. - Memory-boosting. Not only does Ginkgo biloba help boost your memory, but it is also a great anti-inflammatory and helps with asthma, tinnitus, fibromyalgia and helps you deal with altitude sickness.
• Oregano - Loaded with antioxidants. It may be good on Italian food, but it has antioxidant activity than any other herb. 
• Rosemary - Anti-inflammatory. Rosemary may help your circulation, your immune function as well as potentially reduce the severity of asthma attacks.
• Tumeric - from Indian medicine. This herb is a member of the ginger family and as been used for generations in Indian medicine. It has the potential to prevent Alzheimer's.
• Wasabi - Ulcer prevention - This Japanese horseradish is thought to be able to kill the bacteria that causes ulcers. In addition, it may fight tooth decay. 

Spices don't just spice up what you eat, but they can spice up your life and enhance your overall health and well being, both inside and out. 

Photo from Shelterness.com
I also keep my spices in drawers but I need to find these racks to hold them in place.

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