Strong, bold and flavorful. Everything and more is what defines Indian spices. More than the rich flavors these abundant spices add to your food, they are also responsible for offering some brilliant health benefits which even sciences can’t seem to come up with. The calming Ayurvedic properties in many of them make for a stronger immune system too.
Spices and herbs have innumerable health benefits. If you want to stay in peak health and enjoy your life to the fullest, then you have to make room for a few spices and herbs in your regular diet.
In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a lot of interest in ways to strengthen one’s immune system, and thus build a first line of defence against the deadly virus.
Immunity cannot be built up in a day, but the good news is that eating a well-balanced diet and being physically and mentally active is usually enough to keep your immune system in good health.
There are however, many natural ingredients know to help boost your immunity. Since ancient times, herbs and spices were well known for their medicinal properties, with over 80 spices grown in different parts of the world, particularly in Asia. India is home to several spices that are used extensively in traditional medicine.
According to the World Health Organisation, around 80% of the world’s population uses herbal medicines for primary health care, particularly across Europe and South Asia. Research indicates that many of these herbs not only have anti-inflammatory properties, they also help build up the body’s natural immunity. And unlike allopathic medicines like antibiotics, which can have serious side effects, most of these herbs and spices are relatively safe.
Here are a few herbs that will help your body produce more ojas and keep COVID-19 at bay.
Ginger has been an age-old remedy for flu and the common cold. It might also be effective against COVID-19. It contains gingerol — an antioxidant that can power up our immune system and kill viruses. Ginger is particularly good in preventing respiratory tract infections. Ginger is well known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-cancer properties. In traditional medicine, ginger has been extensively used for curing nausea, asthma, travel sickness, morning sickness, arthritis, gastrointestinal complaints and even depression. Consume it as ginger tea, which involves crushing ginger and boiling it with tea leaves and water. Powdered ginger mixed with pulverized cloves, cardamom and caraway has been used for digestive ailments since ancient times. Add ginger to your meals or you can also have it raw!
Just like ginger, garlic too will protect you from coronavirus by stimulating your immunity. It contains allicin- a plant compound that acts as a germicide. Garlic has been part of the kitchens for centuries. This herb has curative and medicinal properties because of its antibacterial and antiseptic nature. The beneficial properties of garlic are because of a compound, Allicin. It is rich in minerals like phosphorus, zinc, potassium, and magnesium. Vitamins C, K, Folate, niacin and thiamine also are found abundantly in garlic. Raw garlic has the potential to ward off a cough and cold infections. Eating two crushed garlic cloves on an empty stomach has the maximum benefit. For kids and babies, hanging garlic cloves in a thread around their necks is supposed to relieve congestion symptoms. But remember, to make the most of garlic, consume it raw or partially cooked!
Black pepper, historians mention, is native to Kerala. This delightfully pungent spice and its processed version — white pepper is used extensively in Indian cooking for its flavor and health benefits. Black pepper is used in medicinal concoctions in most households due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Black pepper helps in good digestion and when it is consumed raw, hydrochloric acid is released by the stomach and helps in breaking down the proteins. This spice helps you sweat and urinate a lot and by this, you discharge all toxins from your body. Sweating and constantly urinating is a good sign that your body is functioning well. Use a spoonful of honey with a pinch of black pepper powder to treat mild throat irritations… works like a charm! So don’t forget to add a pinch of black pepper to all of your food.
This popular spice comes from the bark of the cinnamon tree and is used in everything from pumpkin spice lattes to Cincinnati chili. Cinnamon is especially great for people who have high blood sugar. It lends a sweet taste to food without adding sugar, and studies indicate it can lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Cinnamon may also provide heart-healthy benefits, such as reducing high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. That’s especially important for people with diabetes who are at greater risk for developing heart disease. Cinnamon is not a replacement for diabetes medication or a carbohydrate-controlled diet, but it can be a helpful addition to a healthy lifestyle.
Meal tip: Try sprinkling it on yogurt, fruit or hot cereal, or use it in stews and chilis.
Every time your grandmother said you need to consume turmeric for your health, she was right. Turmeric contains curcumin– a phytochemical that can remove toxins from your body and strengthen your immune system to fight off germs and bacteria. Add an extra dash of turmeric to your meals or consume it with milk. Turmeric roots are used fresh or boiled in water and dried, after which they are ground into a powder. Turmeric powder is sunset-yellow in colour. It has a slightly pungent, bitter flavour and earthy aroma. Turmeric has been used by Ayurvedic healers as medicine since olden days. Popularly known as haldi, this powerful spice is also a go-to option while dealing with numerous health ailments. Whether consumed or applied, its benefits are plentiful. Research has shown curcumin to be highly effective in reducing inflammation. Curcumin is also a powerful anti-oxidant and thus protects our body from free radicals, reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer. Turmeric also boosts the immunity levels. Its anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties protect us from a variety of infections. Many doctors highly recommend taking a teaspoon full of Turmeric in a glass of warm milk every day to keep common cold and flu at bay!
When it comes to versatility and the power of its health benefits, black cumin seed stands above other botanicals.
The black seed of nigella sativa (black cumin seed) has been used for over three thousand years for preventing and treating many different diseases. Black cumin seed is noted for its therapeutic attributes and ability to support the body in its own natural healing processes. It has preventive and restorative features as it stimulates the body’s energy and helps in recovery from fatigue and dispiritedness. Black cumin seed favorably affects several parameters related to heart disease riskincluding lowering total and LDL cholesterol, reducing inflammation, lowering blood pressure, reducing plaque formation. It also reduces blood glucose, as well as diabetic-associated complications such as neuropathy. Black cumin seed has potent anti-oxidant properties and these are thought to be behind the cancer prevention properties demonstrated in animal studies. Black cumin extracts can keep you safe from a range of viruses and bacteria that attack your immune system. Both black cumin seeds and oil act as antioxidants and help flush out free radicals that weaken your immunity.
The things you need to improve your immunity are all within your reach. Consume these herbs and stay home to beat coronavirus!