Did you know that spices are incredibly healing? In Ayurveda, spices and herbs are viewed as medicine. Some of the benefits include stimulating the digestive fire, speeding up metabolism, and bringing a warming effect to the body which helps to break down food easier!
Spices allow us endless opportunities to nurture our health from the inside out, enjoying all of our senses! The bright color of turmeric, the sweet scent of cardamom, the gentle texture of freshly ground cinnamon, and of course…our food tastes amazing!
When our food tastes great (and digests well), we feel nourished to the core of our being. Cravings for foods that don’t serve us naturally fall away and we gain the power to easily stay in balance.
Not to be confused, spices don’t necessarily mean “spicy”. They allow us to experience and enjoy all six flavors while nourishing our body; sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent. Incorporating all flavors allow us to be nutritionally balanced.
WHERE TO BEGIN?
Knowing how and when to use spices is important to fully support our digestion, mind, and body. It also makes it easy to feel healthy!
- First, tune-in to what your body needs that day
- If you’re feeling cold (kapha or vata imbalance), enjoy warming spices like mustard seeds, cumin, and ginger.
- Summer time? Or pitta imbalance? (anger, indigestion, internal heat) It’s time to cool it down with coriander, fennel, or cardamom and avoid spicy foods like cayenne and garlic.
- Use spices moderately (enhance the taste but no need to overpower the dish)
- Avoid excess salt if you’re feeling sluggish or lethargic (kapha imbalance)
- All spices (besides salt) are incredibly beneficial and medicinal for Kaphas. They not only stimulate digestion, but also speed metabolism!
- Take note or keep a journal of what you use, how it tastes, and how you feel afterwards.
- Have fun with it! Find play in trying new things!
FUN FACTS ABOUT THE USE OF SPICES:
Best spices for weight loss include turmeric, cayenne, ginger, black pepper, cinnamon, mustard, cumin.
Best spices for gas and bloating; Cinnamon, cardamom, bay, fennel, dill, mint, chamomile.
Best spices to cool excess digestive fire (overheated digestion such as acid indigestion): cumin, coriander, fennel, cilantro, aloe vera, licorice.
Reduce or eliminate sugar in your diet by the use of these sweet tasting spices: Anise, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, fennel.
Chew on clove or cardamom to freshen your breath. This is a great alternative to chewing gum!
Spices can also be utilized topically! To reduce pain, swelling and inflammation: make a paste of ginger powder and turmeric powder. You can use water or, for pitta inflammation, rose water. Apply directly to areas of pain.
Combine your spiced food with healing herbs, such as those found in YouVeda’s Supplement Packs, an additional boost of wellness!
For the most benefit, be sure your spices are pure, organic, and high quality. Many store-bought spices contain anti-caking agents and fillers that can be harmful for your health.
We live in a beautiful world filled with countless natural ways to balance health, restore digestion, boost immunity, reduce pain and inflammation – the list goes on and on. Open up your cupboards and get creative with what’s in there.
Add something new to your palate! The wiser we nourish our bodies, the more in-tune we become with ourselves, our health, and our overall well-being.
So, what’s for dinner tonight?!
Author: Carolyn Crews (YouVeda Wellness Contributor)