South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisines are famous around the world; mainly because of deliberate use of spices which gives characteristic flavor to these cuisines. Spices are used in all type of dishes ranging from curries, breads, stews, soups as well as desserts. These spices give strong taste as well as aroma to delicacies and also act as preservatives. Spice can be a seed, bark, leaf, fruit/ skin of fruits. Spices can be used to hide certain unpleasant taste or flavors from some dishes. Also these are famous for antimicrobial, antibacterial and healing properties. Some spices like Fennel, Cinnamon, Pepper, Cardamom etc. are commonly used in Asian countries in Naturopathy to treat everyday health issues like digestion problems, infections or common cold.
Spices are used in raw form (dried) or grind-ed form as well as a mixture for example: Curry powder, Mix Spice etc.
Commonly used spices for everyday cooking in India are:
Garlic is one of the best remedies that is used from ancient time; but most of us are not aware of the fact that how beneficial garlic consumption is actually. Garlic is commonly used as a main ingredient in Asian cuisines and also used in breads throughout the world. But, it is very important to use garlic in a correct way for 100% benefits. In case you are allergic to garlic then don not consume it any way.
For medicinal benefits you can just take garlic in the following manner.
1. For Blood Pressure: in order to regulate blood pressure level take 2-3 cloves of garlic and prick them gently, soak them for 12 hours or overnight in half cup of water. Intake the water in the morning.
2 For Respiratory Problems ( Cold/Cough) : Take 100gm chopped garlic and add into 500ml boiling water ; let the mixture sit for 12 hours then add honey according to taste. This syrup can be taken as normal cough syrup.
3. For Toothache and Earache: Use garlic oil made up of garlic slices gently heated in virgin olive oil.
Ginger is significantly known for its medicinal properties and commonly used all over the world in various recipes sometimes alone or some time with other spices which enhances it’s properties. One of the easiest thing which you can take to experience benefits of ginger is “Ginger Tea”
Ginger Root : Freshly chopped or sliced- 1 tablespoon.
Green Cardamon Powder: 1/4 teaspoon .
Lemon Juice: Freshly squeezed: 1 teaspoon or according to taste.
Honey: according to taste.
Boil 2 Cups of water in a pan.
Add chopped or sliced ginger root to it and cover the pan with the lid and let it simmer down for 5 mins.
Add green cardamon powder let it simmer down for 2 mins more.
Strain the tea and add honey according to taste.
Enjoy tea either hot or at room temperature.
Benefits: Mood enhancement, Reduction in stress levels, Better digestive system, Relief from menstrual cramps, Weight reduction, Good in sinusitis or other respiratory problems, Reduction in blood sugar level.
There are fixed recipes which we follow with little variation for regular cooking. You will be surprised to know that little variations in these can lay down a path to good health and fitness. Let’s start with the basic things that we use in routine.
1. Dairy Products.
There are various of dairy products which we use like milk, yoghurt,butter, mayonnaise etc.
What you can do to make them healthier and fruitful?
Swap mayonnaise with low fat yoghurt you can add herbs or your choice to it which will make it more tastier.
Use Skimmed or low fat variants of milk instead of full cream milk which contains less fat and same amount of essential nutrients.
Use yoghurt in fruit salads and other recipes instead of heavy dressings to make them delicious and low cal.
The main source of carbohydrates are cereals, sugar from artificial as well as natural sources.
How you can improve quality of carbohydrates ?
Use natural sweeteners in place of artificial one; you can also go for fruit based desserts too.
Improve the fibre content in diet by using multigrain, whole wheat or oats.
You can also use oats in regular smoothies which will improve the quality and consistency .
3. Vegetables & fruits.
One should include at least 6-7 servings of different fruits and vegetables in their diet.
How you can select the best options?
Add rainbow to your diet , use fruits and vegetables of different colors.
Always prefer to use seasonal varieties which are fresh and friendly for pocket.
Add more herbs (parsley, coriander, mint etc) to your soups n salads for better taste, appearance and great aroma.
These small tips can definitely improve the quality of food intake by providing better nutritional level essential for complete health and fitness.