What spices are good for me?

Sunita Mohan
Alternative & Complementary Medicine

Turmeric is the main spice in Ayurvedic cooking. It contains the flavonoid curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties. This spice helps detoxify the liver, balance cholesterol levels, fight allergies, stimulate digestion, boost immunity and enhance the complexion. It is also an antioxidant. Ayurveda recognizes it as a heating spice. Turmeric is a bright yellow-orange spice, and, is used in tiny quantities; this spice imparts a rich color and look to cooked white rice, potatoes or yellow lentils. Add it to the water in which rice or lentils are being cooked. It combines well with other spices such as cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper and cinnamon. Turmeric can also stain clothes and surfaces, so be careful when using it.

Cumin is not just popular in Indian dishes; it is also used in many other cultures (Mexican and Middle Eastern cuisines). According to Ayurveda, it is a cooling spice. When used in recipes, it is supposed to aid digestion and help flush toxins out of the body. Cumin can be used either as whole seeds or ground, raw or dry-roasted. Ground raw cumin has a dull brown color, which is enriched by being sautéed in Ghee or oil. Whole dry-roasted cumin is a rich brown in color and is used as a garnish in yogurt. Both sautéing and roasting make the aroma and flavor of cumin come alive. Cumin combines well with a wide range of other spices, including turmeric, ground fennel, ground coriander, ground dry ginger and cinnamon.

Asafoetida (hing) - Asafoetida has been held in great esteem amongst indigenous medicines from the earliest times in India. It is reputed as a drug which expels wind from the stomach and counteracts any spasmodic disorders. It is also a digestive agent and a sedative.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
There is a brain-busting spice that can keep your brain in tip-top shape. Find out from Dr. Oz what spice is called the "spice of life" in this video.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.