With the arrival of cold weather, it’s no coincidence that we’re drawn to cinnamon rolls and spicy pumpkin soup. It turns out that spices can make winter much more pleasant.
Spices and seasonings are not taken seriously in our part of the world. Can some aromatic dust on the tip of a knife make us healthier and happier? In the Middle East and Asia, on the other hand, spices have long been revered as medicine and are seriously prescribed along with medication. This could be considered an amusing cultural fact if it were not for the results of modern scientific research. Laboratory observations show that the familiar spice powders are not just a tasty food additive, but also an effective way to influence the work of the body and human well-being.
The vast majority of the roots and powders used in cooking are plants grown in the tropics and highlands. Life in a harsh climate would be impossible for them without reliable protection. Most often it is provided by succulent yellow, red, green, and brown antioxidant pigments. They make plants resistant to adversities like the scorching sun, pests, and temperature changes. In the human body, these chemicals can also clean up: bind free radicals, improve blood circulation and metabolism, and stimulate detoxification. In addition, exotic and Mediterranean spices do not contain the same phytonutrients that are found in fruits and vegetables traditional for our strip. And dietary diversity is one of the whales of good nutrition, especially in winter, when the choice of fresh foods is limited.
Throughout the day, use the rainbow principle by adding spices. The more colorful your menu, including spices, the more beneficial nutrients will enter your body.
The lack of sunlight hits literally every system of the body. But thanks to spices grown under the bright sun of the tropics, you can get through the winter with a smile on your lips and a charged battery. The main one for a good mood is chili peppers and other stinging varieties. The active ingredient capsaicin promotes the synthesis of the joy hormone endorphins, which means it reduces the risk of seasonal moping.
Almost all spices are characterized by the ability to speed up metabolic processes and tone up the body. Of course, it is naive to expect an energizing effect from a single serving of Indian curry, but regular use of spices is associated with better metabolism of fats and carbohydrates and general vigor.
By the standards of history, spices have only recently become a gourmet ingredient. Initially, they were used en masse to veil products of dubious quality and for preservation. The first was well handled by volatile aromatic substances capable of overpowering many other odors, the second by antibacterial agents in spices. Cloves, ginger, turmeric, garlic and rosemary top the list of spices that are dangerous to pathogenic germs, and therefore good for people during the cold season. Of course, ginger tea does not become a cure for pneumonia, but it is a means of prevention and immune system support.
Again, let’s talk about cinnamon buns. According to research, the essential oils in the spice help regulate blood sugar levels and keep them from spiking. So in theory, baking with cinnamon is almost not a crime against your figure, but a healthy compromise.
But seriously, spices can actually be good for keeping in shape. During the cold season, we traditionally eat more “comfort foods,” foods that satiate well. But meats, thick soups, nuts, starchy vegetables, and pies of all kinds are relatively difficult foods to digest. Spices can make it easier to digest. Rosemary, chili, turmeric, and paprika are traditionally used for marinating meat and preparing multi-ingredient dishes precisely because they soften proteins and help digest products of different nature. And quality digestion is already half the battle for slimness.
The ancient medical concept of Ayurveda states that anise, allspice, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, garlic, ginger, mustard, rosemary, thyme, and turmeric have a warming effect in winter. Far from Vata and Pitta, Western scientists don’t argue with this. Burning spices do contain substances that can improve blood circulation and increase the heart rate, which the body feels as a pleasant warmth radiating through the body.