If you want to think health foods, think spices, and then think curry. Many of the spices used in the preparation of curry have amazing health benefits, and if you know how to prepare your own curries, using fresh spices, youre opening the door to a pantry full of great health foods that can really spice up anyones holistic health lifestyle.
Indian Curry rules the roost
Thai curry and Chinese curry make for delicious eating, but when it comes down to cooking your own curry, and taking the maximum benefit from the many spices that go together to make the best curry ingredients, its Indian curries that rule the roost.
Its too hot and it makes you fat
A lot of people turn their noses up at curry (a) because they say its too spicy-hot, (b) because its too full of fat. Wrong on both counts! You can make a curry as spicy-hot or as mild as you like, and if you cook it yourself, you control how lean the meat is, (thats if you use meat some of the best curries are vegetable curries), and youre in charge of what type of cooking oil you use, and how much.
You make the rules
Lots of recipes say to fry your curry in Ghee, which is clarified butter; but you can use olive oil, or coconut oil instead be creative. Thats the other great thing about cooking curry. You can be as creative as you like. Make the rules up according to what you like best and what you want most to get out of your curries!
Spices to keep in your larder # 1 Chili
Well deal with chili first as its often the first thing that most people think of when they think about curry, although it doesnt have to be remember what I said curries dont have to be spicy-hot. But for those of you who do enjoy a little heat, chili is the bees knees, and for those of you who are not familiar with this expression its Brit speak for something thats really great. Chili Peppers have two main ingredients that are superb for health Cayenne and Capsaicin.
Cayenne is great; not only for reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels, but it can also help to decrease the build-up of platelets, something that if left unaddressed can lead to blood clots forming, which are instrumental in causing strokes and can prove fatal. In addition, recent research has also indicated that Cayenne may help to reduce the incidence of ulcers forming. It also helps to minimize gas production, leading to less bloated tummies, and attendant stomach pain. It also helps in the production of hydrochloric acid, which is an important ingredient of your digestive juices.
The capsaicin in chilies is a natural painkiller. Its used in many proprietary creams and ointments to help treat things like joint pain.
Eating chilies can also help to maintain strong bones and teeth, as they contain calcium. They can also help to lower blood sugar levels, according to research carried out by a team at the University of Tasmania, and as reported by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in July 2006. Theyre also great for your cardiovascular system, because they boost circulation; and last but not least, they have also been linked with the ability of helping to prevent the spread of prostate cancer.
Spices to keep in your larder # 2 Ginger
Ginger is a spice that not only adds zest and taste curry, but its also great to use in casseroles, stews, and stir-fries. It also makes a mean tea or tincture too.
We could be here all day talking about the many health benefits of ginger. They include treatment for loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, stomach upset, upper respiratory tract infections, menstrual cramps, and joint and muscle pain. In some countries its also used for treating burns.
On a cosmetic level, its used as a fragrance in some soaps and cosmetics. As I said, we could be here all day discussing gingers health benefits, but as there is not room or time in this short article, if youd like to find out more about this versatile spice, follow this link to medicalnewstoday.com.
Spices to keep in your larder # 3 Turmeric
Turmeric is a golden orange spice that adds flavor and color to any curry, or casserole. It has a lovely bitter note that helps to provide a sweet flavor, like the sour in sweet and sour. It contains a substance known as Curcumin, which has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries.
The Indians have been raving about the anti ageing and medicinal benefits of turmeric for years, but its only just recently that modern medical science has just begun to catch up with this wonderful spice, and to date, over 240 pieces of research have appeared in mainstream publications espousing Curcumins ability as a cancer prevention substance.
Curcumin is also useful in helping to stabilize blood sugar levels, and as an herb (it is known as both a spice, and an herb), it is the fourth most antioxidant rich.
To find out more about the health giving benefits of turmeric and the Curcumin it contains, check out this article on naturalnews.com
Spices to keep in your larder # 4 Coriander Seeds
Coriander seeds impart a fragrant flavor to curries and other dishes that they are added to. The flavor is somewhat reminiscent of citrus peel and sage. Its another spice that has a great reputation around the world in terms of its health benefits. In some countries in Europe it is referred to as the anti-diabetic spice. In parts of India, (where, of course, its used curries) in Ayurvedic medicine, it has been used for its anti-inflammatory properties, and in the USA, it has also been studied for its ability to lower cholesterol. It also has natural antibiotic abilities.
For an in-depth read about the many benefits and characteristics of coriander seeds, take a look at this page on the whfoods.com website.
Spices to keep in your larder # 5 Cinnamon
Most of the cinnamon that we use today is actually Ceylon cinnamon, as opposed to Cassia cinnamon, which is used mostly by the Chinese. Its history as a medicinal spice goes back to ancient Egyptian times in 2000 BC, when it was used to help to treat coughs, sore throats, and arthritis. Research carried out by modern medicine today has revealed even more health benefit properties.
Among cinnamons health benefits it can reportedly be used to remedy muscle spasms, help to combat vomiting and diarrhea, fight off the common cold, treat erectile dysfunction, and bring back your appetite.
Cinnamon can also be used to help manage type 2 Diabetes. A dose of 6 grams per day can help to reduce serum glucose, triglyceride, and LDL cholesterol. In separate research conducted at Tel Aviv university it was also found that CEppt (one of the substances found in cinnamon) can slow the development of Alzheimers.
For more information about the medicinal properties of cinnamon, check out this fact sheet at medicalnewstoday.com
Spices to keep in your larder # 6 Cardamom
Cardamom pods come from a plant which is native to Southeast Asia. After Saffron and Vanilla, it is the most expensive spice in the world. Like many other spices it has a rich history of use in many ancient medical cultures including those of ancient Egypt, the Ayurvedic medicine of Asia, and ancient Chinese medicine too.
One of the important ingredients of Cardamom seeds is a phytochemical known as Cineole. It is used to combat heartburn, IBS, liver and gallbladder conditions. It can also help to fight off colds, bronchitis, and sore throats. It is also used by some to help treat urinary infections.
It has a lemon like burst of flavor that is delicious in curries. In India t it is also used as a baking ingredient. Weve only just scratched the surface in terms of the health benefits that these remarkable little seeds offer; for more information follow this link to diabetesguide.info
Spices to keep in your larder # 7 Cloves
Cloves are tiny pink flower buds that have not yet opened. They are the buds of the Clove Tree. When picked they are pink, but through the drying process they turn brown. They are wonderfully aromatic and give any curry a lovely warm glow to the taste. They are also used as an ingredient in ginger cake, and pumpkin pie, but can be added to many things like baked beans to add a flavor kick. You can also use them to make mulled wine at Christmas.
The health benefits of cloves include nullifying toothache pain, helping to combat upper respiratory disorders, helping to ease inflammation when applied as an oil; being used as an anti-bacterial agent; used for to treating digestion disorders, and last but not least, being used as an aphrodisiac.
Spice-up your Holistic Health Lifestyle
All of these spices are great ingredients to add to any curry. But they can also be used to enhance the flavor of many other dishes too, limited only by your own imagination. One thing you can be sure of though is that with the wealth of benefits they provide, theyve earned a place of in the larder of anyone seeking to spice-up their holistic health lifestyle.