You don’t have to do something exotic to enjoy the benefits of natural healing agents. So many things in your kitchen – common spices, common herbs and foods – have powerful healing agents as well.

                                                                                                                                                     — Chris Kilham

Spices and herbs have been used from ancient times, but in modern food preparation, they are playing a new and important role. Not only do they make our food taste unique, but they also bring color and diversity to otherwise bland and generic dishes. Cooking with herbs and spices is also an excellent way to introduce children to a variety of flavors, and to make food look and taste more appetizing.

Along with culinary excellence, spices and herbs also possess a range of health benefits. Food traditions that we have been following for centuries consistently support these health benefits.

Health Benefits
Herbs contain a large amount of antioxidants and are also excellent at promoting digestion. They also help lessen the gravity and occurrence of headaches, heart conditions, allergies, colds, flus, sinus pain, and arthritis. Fresh herbs often contain higher levels of antioxidants than processed herbs and dried ones, meaning that during cooking, it is recommended to add the fresh herbs closer to the end of the preparation process in order to completely harness the health benefits.

Furthermore, spices enhance our metabolism, therefore aiding in the process of weight loss. Along with enhancing your metabolism and helping burn fat, they also help to combat heart disease, quickly and easily recover from gland flu, and promote better breathing by clearing the lungs’ airways. Additionally, the traditional use of spices and herbs to keep meat safe from bacteria in warm climates has been examined in order to further the healthy growth of bacteria in the large intestine.

Spices can also have cardiac health benefits such as reducing high cholesterol and triglyceride. For diabetes patients with a greater risk of developing heart conditions, this is particularly important. Spices such as turmeric have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant characteristics and are known to help with various types of cancer. Many spices, including cinnamon, are currently being studied to deduce their ability to maintain stable blood sugar levels and increase insulin effects in people with insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome. Black pepper, known as the spice king, supports weight loss in addition to relieving and addressing many skin problems. And the list just continues from there!

How Do You Use Herbs and Spices?

Herbs can be pungent in fresh and dried forms while spices are almost always dried and can vary from hot to sweet in taste. In addition to enhancing the flavor, smell, appearance, and texture of your food, the wider the variation of herbs and spices you try, the more tastes and excitement you are adding to your food and life.

Fortunately, there are many tricks to freshening up your daily herbs! If your fresh herbs look a bit droopy, revitalize them by soaking the branches in a bowl of ice water. When done, drain the water out of the bowl thoroughly, wrap the herbs in a paper towel, and place them in a plastic bag within the refrigerator for a few hours.

Most spices are fresh and have a bright, colorful, and strong aromas, meaning that you must keep your spices tightly sealed and in cool and dry environments. For your reference, whole spices remain fresh for up to 2 years, while ground spices last for 6 months. Furthermore, red spices, such as paprika and pepper, should be kept in the refrigerator.

In summary, herbs and spices are not essential to your daily life, but they make dishes and food items look and taste so delightful that they might as well be required! Make sure to educate yourself on which herbs and spices work best for you and provide the proper preparation methods before sprinkling them atop your meals and snacks!