Savoring Life: The Essential Role and Health Benefits of Spices in Everyday Cuisine
Spices have always played an important role in our daily lives not just for flavoring and seasoning food but also for their various health benefits. Various ancient medicinal systems like Ayurveda, Siddha and Chinese medicine have acknowledged the therapeutic properties of spices for centuries. Let’s take a look at some of the main reasons why spices should be an integral part of our diet:
Most spices are packed with powerful antioxidants that help fight free radicals and reduce oxidative stress in our body. Common antioxidant-rich spices include turmeric, cloves, cinnamon, ginger and black pepper. These antioxidants may help lower inflammation and reduce risk of chronic diseases.
Certain warm spices such as turmeric, ginger and garlic are known to boost immune function and defend our body against foreign invaders. Compounds in these spices have antimicrobial and anti-viral properties that help support overall wellness. Consuming spices regularly may reduce risk and severity of illnesses.
Many Indian kitchen spices like cumin, coriander, fennel and ajwain are carminatives that help stimulate digestive juices and ease the passage of food through intestinal tract. This may relieve issues like bloating, gas and constipation. Chewing spices after a meal also aids in better absorption of nutrients. Coherent Market Insights discusses scope of spices industry in India Spices Market.
Some studies have linked regular consumption of spices to reduced risk of heart diseases. Cinnamon, cloves and oregano contain active compounds that can lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure, two major risk factors. Their anti-inflammatory and anticoagulant properties further support heart health in the long run.
Weight Management Tool
Spices may aid in weight management when used judiciously in place of high-calorie ingredients like oils, creams, sugars and salts. Capsaicin from chili peppers boosts metabolism and curcumin in turmeric controls appetite and cravings. Using spices allows you to flavor food deliciously without adding extra calories.
Top commercial spices
Let’s review some of the most commonly used and commercially viable spices:
Native to South Asia, turmeric is arguably the most versatile spice with extensive culinary and medicinal uses. It contains curcumin, a polyphenol with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Turmeric is a key ingredient in Indian cuisine and used to color and flavor curries, rice dishes and pickles.
Chili peppers originating from Mexico are popularly used across the world to add pungency and heat to cuisines. Varieties include cayenne, jalapeno, habanero and paprika. They contain capsaicinoids that stimulate metabolism and may assist weight management. Chili peppers are also processed into powders, pastes and sauces.
Cloves are the aromatic flower buds of an evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia. They contain eugenol that provides mild anesthetic properties. Cloves are commonly used in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking blended with cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaves to make aromatic garam masalas. They are also incorporated in oral health and beauty products.
Native to Sri Lanka and South India, cinnamon has long been prized for its sweet woody flavor. Its active compound cinnamaldehyde renders antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory benefits. Cinnamon biscuits, breads and teas are popular worldwide. It is also utilized as an animal feed and natural preservative.
Coriander, the seed of cilantro plant, is one of the most popular herbs native to Europe and Asia. It adds an aromatic, citrus-like flavor to curries, breads, soups and dressings. Cilantro is mainly used fresh as herb in Mexican, Indian and Chinese cuisines.Coriander contains linalool imparting mild calming effects.
Black pepper originating from Kerala, India is the king of spices adding pungency to almost every savory dish globally. It contains piperine noted for its anti-carcinogenic and thermogenic properties enhancing flavors and nutrition absorption. Black pepper is used whole or ground in both eastern and western cuisines.
Ginger root is a popular anti-emetic and inflammation-fighter from Asia. Gingerol in ginger aids digestion, eases nausea and helps combat arthritis, metabolic syndrome and migraines. It can be used fresh, powdered or candied in teas, foods, sweets and beverages. Ginger is an exceptional stimulant for taste buds too.
Cardamom is the small seeded pod from a plant in Zingiberaceae family native to South Asia and considered the queen of spices. Its aromatic essential oil contains cineole and borneol contributing to its usage in culinary preparations and Ayurvedic medicines. It is used widely in Indian, Arabic and Scandinavian cuisines.
Factors such as increasing health consciousness, growing opportunities in emerging economies, rising industrial and retail sectors are providing impetus to this multibillion-dollar industry. Asia Pacific currently dominates with countries like India, China, Indonesia and Sri Lanka at the forefront of production and exports owing to ideal climatic conditions. However, robust demand from developed regions like North America and Europe assisted by growing ethnic food consumption as well as use of natural ingredients in processed foods continues to present new avenues for expansion. For more specifics on production values, price trends and regional variances, refer the report published in detail on https://www.coherentmarketinsights.com/. The spices market shows promising scope with technological innovations, new product launches as well as developing new export destinations.