All spices originate from plants - flowers, fruits, seeds, barks, leaves and roots. Herbs and spices not only improve the taste of foods, they can also help preserve them for longer periods of time. Herbs and spices have antibacterial and antiviral properties and many are high in B-vitamins and trace minerals. Most herbs and spices also contain more disease-fighting antioxidants than fruits and vegetables. The herbs and spices listed below can positively influence the health of the gut bacteria and in turn improve gut health.
Turmeric: This yellow spice is the most potent natural anti-inflammatory agent. It can have a protective effect on the gut lining and liver. It can help the body break down food, this improves nutrient absorption which in turn decreases inflammation. A good anti- inflammatory concoction is a paste made of coconut oil with pinch turmeric powder and pinch of black pepper for better absorption of turmeric. This can be consumed every day.
Ginger: Just like turmeric, ginger helps in digestion. Regular consumption of ginger can help increase metabolism and help with a feeling of fullness thus helping against obesity. Ginger, one of the most effective gut health foods, can be had in regular tea, herbal tea or pickled as a side dish.
Rosemary: This is a cooking herb that can help reduce inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. It can enhance beneficial bacteria growth and is used for indigestion and to help with poor fat digestion. It can be added to all kinds of foods, from stir fries to curries.
Garlic: It has anti-inflammatory properties and can help in blood sugar regulation. Garlic also helps to reduce gas, relieve constipation and treat infection. Garlic can be added raw or roasted in dips, dressings or sauces. It can also be sliced and added to meats, veggies, stir fry and cooked grains.
Cinnamon: This yellow spice is the most potent natural anti-inflammatory agent. It can have a protective effect on the gut lining and liver. It can help the body break down food, this improves nutrient absorption which in turn decreases inflammation. A good anti- inflammatory concoction is a paste made of coconut oil with pinch turmeric powder and pinch of black pepper for better absorption of turmeric. This can be consumed every day.
Basil: Its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties help soothe nausea, gas and digestive spasms. This effective gut health food can be added to eggs, soups and vegetables.
Black pepper: It helps with diarrhoea and constipation and improves nutrient bio-availability. It can be added in herbal teas and used as seasoning in all kinds of foods.
Cardamom: This sweet-smelling spice has anti- inflammatory properties and helps reduce indigestion, cramping and bloating. It can be added to tea and cereal porridges.
Dill: It can help in the treatment of gut dysbiosis, meaning imbalance between the good and bad bacteria leading to gut issues and stress-related GI (gastro-intestinal) disturbances. This gut health food is best used in uncooked recopies or in foods cooked in low temperatures. It can also be added in any type of fish, omlete, poultry and to dips and dressings.
Fennel: Often had as a mouth freshener, saunf (fennel) can improve digestion and suppress appetite and help in reducing gas and bloating. It also helps with water retention issues. It can be had in water especially before meals to release the body’s natural juices to aid digestion.
Herbs and spices are nutrient-dense, health-promoting, and anti-inflammatory ingredients that are vital to cooking to improve your gut health. And the good part is that they always available in our traditional kitchens! Make good use of these ingredients to stay keep your gut healthy.
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