Top 5 healthiest spices

Spices have been around since the ancient and medieval world and their uses are not limited to the kitchen only.

In Summary

•Spices have been around since the ancient and medieval world and their uses are not limited to the kitchen only.

•They're incorporated in medicines as well and act as home remedies for a lot of ailments, from toothaches to fevers.

Viazi Karai ( potatoes), one of Nairobi's famous street food on January 17, 2022.
Viazi Karai ( potatoes), one of Nairobi's famous street food on January 17, 2022.
Image: WILFRED NYANGERESI

Spices are the backbone of most meals.

They not only add flavour but colour, texture and aroma as well. They can transform a basic meal into a finger-licking, talk of the occasion meal.

But in as much as they can make a dish, they can break it as well.

It all depends on the measurements, quantity, and usage.

Spices have been around since the ancient and medieval world and their uses are not limited to the kitchen only.

They're incorporated in medicines as well and act as home remedies for a lot of ailments, from toothaches to fevers.

Spices or their active compounds can be used as possible preventive or ameliorative agents for some health ailments.

Spices are very rich in antioxidants, and scientific research suggests that they are also powerful inhibitors of inflammation and tissue damage caused by circulating lipids and high levels of blood sugar.

Because spices are relatively inexpensive and have low-calorie content, they are an excellent source of antioxidants and other bioactive compounds in the diet.

1) Turmeric

Turmeric belongs to the ginger family and is a root stalk of a tropical plant.

It has a bright golden colour and adds strong aromatic smells to dishes. It can be added to almost everything from curries, to rice dishes, relishes, and mustard.

It has a multitude of benefits making it an ideal must-have kitchen essential.

Some of its benefits include:

  • Slowing/ stopping blood clots
  • reducing depression symptoms
  • has strong anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing properties
  • boost skin health
Turmeric powder
Turmeric powder
Image: HANNIE PETRA

2) Saffron

Saffron has been used in traditional Persian medicine for centuries, particularly as a powerful mood lifter, often steeped into a medicinal tea or used in the preparation of rice.

According to studies it has also been noted to help relieve symptoms of depression and premenstrual syndrome

You can add it to rice dishes or stews, as it pairs well with tomatoes, onion, and garlic.

3) Saigon Cinnamon

Saigon cinnamon is an evergreen tree indigenous to mainland Southeast Asia. 

It's prized for its spicy taste and sweet aroma.

It's as well considered the most flavourful and finest cinnamon in the world, on top of being among the world’s healthiest spices.

Some of its benefits include:

  • Anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties
  • Helps lower blood sugar and risk of type 2 diabetes
  • It Helps reduces blood pressure
  • Has antioxidants with anti-inflammatory effects
  • Prebiotic properties may improve gut health
  • Helps relieve digestive discomfort

It blends well with desserts, coffees, and main dishes as well. 

4) Serrano Chili peppers.

These peppers are well-known for their bold and spicy heat.

Properties in them have had them vying for the top position with oranges as immune System Boosters.

They're also known to provide relief for arthritis and sore muscles and to top that is linked to helping improve heart health.

You could find ones that are smoked and nicely ground into a scented powder.

Chili powder adds a rich, spicy, smoky zest, and lively heat to dishes.

5) Ginger

Ginger is loaded with health benefits and that's why it is widely used not only as a herb but also as folk medicine.

It is like a spice goddess.

It is known to help calm stomach upsets and relieve morning sickness

It's also associated with reducing pain because the potent chemical in ginger, known as gingerol, blocks the nerve pathways responsible for pain and helps reduce inflammation.

On top of that, it is known to help in weight loss and is an excellent remedy for colds. A hot cup of ginger, honey, and lemon slices is guaranteed to work wonders for your body.

It's also known to drastically help lower blood sugars and reduce the risks factors of heart diseases.

You can steep it in your tea, grate it in your pilau or add it to your meat dishes in order to give them an extra zing. 

These are some of the known healthiest spices in the world.

However, there are still a lot of other powerful spices and herbs that can not only benefit your health but also give your dishes a scrumptious taste.

From keeping your arteries clear to reducing pain and helping lift your moods, learn to incorporate these great flavours into your everyday meals. For a healthy body and satisfied taste buds.

Viazi Karai ( potatoes), one of Nairobi's famous street food on January 17, 2022.
Viazi Karai ( potatoes), one of Nairobi's famous street food on January 17, 2022.
Image: WILFRED NYANGERESI
Viazi Karai ( potatoes), one of Nairobi's famous street food on January 17, 2022.
Viazi Karai ( potatoes), one of Nairobi's famous street food on January 17, 2022.
Image: WILFRED NYANGERESI
Viazi Karai ( potatoes), one of Nairobi's famous street food on January 17, 2022.
Viazi Karai ( potatoes), one of Nairobi's famous street food on January 17, 2022.
Image: WILFRED NYANGERESI