Carolyn Young

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Blogs on health coaching, yoga, healthly habits, nutrition, recipes and lifestyle.

Spice It Up - FREE Guide With Recipes Inside

Photo by  Chinh Le Duc  on  Unsplash

What is the difference between Italian cuisine and Thai cuisine? I’d say it’s the herbs and spices used to prepare the dishes. 

Herbs and spices have been used for centuries to flavor food, but that’s not all they do. Research shows they are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and may have numerous health benefits. Some herbs and spices are known to reduce inflammation, calm nausea, boost the immune system and fight infection. 

Photo by  Calum Lewis  on  Unsplash

Photo by Calum Lewis on Unsplash

Herbs, like parsley and basil, are the leaves of a plant. 

Spices are usually from the seeds, berries, bark, or roots of a plant, like cinnamon (bark of the tree) and turmeric (a root). 

When it comes to your gut health and diet, what you eat is just as important as what you don’t eat. 

Crowding out is the idea of including healthier options in your diet and leaving little or no room for processed and high-sugar foods. Taking the time to learn and explore with new flavors in your dishes will make your home cooking more interesting and allow you to crowd out less healthy ingredients such as salt, refined sugar and added fats.

When cooking with herbs and spices, a little can go a long way.

  • Dried herbs are usually added during the cooking process, so they rehydrate and fully express their aroma and flavor. 

  • Fresh herbs are best added at the end of the cooking process, so they maintain their color and flavor.

Depending on the spice, it may need to be grounded before adding it to dishes. For example, you may sprinkle ground cinnamon on your oatmeal after it is cooked, or you may cook your oatmeal with a stick of cinnamon and remove it before consuming. 

Photo by  Alison Marras  on  Unsplash

Same goes for ginger and many other spices. I typically add a chunk of ginger to a dish while cooking it and then remove it before serving. Alternately, you can grate fresh ginger or sprinkle ground ginger over the dish for a more intense flavor.

Spices and herbs can be used alone or in combination, like adding turmeric, paprika, and cilantro to your lentil soup. It’s all about getting creative and being open to exploring new flavors.

Herbs and spices can also be made into a beverage. Turmeric tea, mint tea, basil tea, and ginger tea are another way of enjoying a relaxing moment while taking advantage of the health benefits plants have to offer.

A note of caution. Some herbs and spices may have medicinal properties when taken in high dosages. If you are on medication, pregnant, breastfeeding or have a particular health condition please consult with your doctor if in doubt.

As a bonus, I prepared a FREE Spice It Up guide for you, with a list of herbs and spices to stock your pantry, how to use them, plus, five easy and delicious recipes. Download your copy now!