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Four common spices oozing with benefits

Sep 26, 2020 07:25 IST

Spices not only lend a delectable flavour to your meal, but each one of them is also loaded with benefits you can’t ignore.

Let’s begin with star anise. It’s made from a fruit of a Chinese evergreen tea and as the name suggests, has a star-like shape. Known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-microbial properties, the spice is rich in a rare plant-based compound called shikimic acid, which is often used in anti-flu medication. When coupled with another plant antioxidant quercetin, the spice is known to strengthen the immune system. You can add star anise to your tea or milk, a stew or soup!

Cumin seeds aid digestion and are known to be one of the most gut-friendly herbs. They consist of thymol and essential oils that act as a stimulant for the salivary gland and facilitate digestion. Those who suffer from gastric issues and flatulence are advised to drink jeera water on an empty stomach every morning. Perhaps, this is the reason why no desi tadka is complete without a sprinkle of cumin seeds!

A spice that makes its way into the Indian cuisine very often, cloves are repositories of benefits. They’re rich in manganese, help improve brain function and bone health. This spice contains essential oils like vanillin and acetyl eugenol. In addition to that, they’re loaded with flavonoids like eugenin and kaempferol. In many instances, cloves help ease digestion and get rid of acid reflux. Add them to your tea or chew on one when you feel nauseous.

The humble cardamom often makes its way into your favourite biryani. But did you know, the spice may help lower blood pressure because of its diuretic properties? Cardamom is anti-inflammatory in nature and may help keep chronic diseases away. Studies have found that it may even kill bacteria in the mouth and prevent cavities. You can gorge on elaichi ki chai, add it to curries, or as a topping in your favourite phirni or kheer.