Healthy advice

from Ipokratis Papadimitrakos

Summer herbs and spices

herbs

5 herbs and spices that will cool you off in summer and create a better balance for your body

Herbs and spices are the best way to turn any dull meal into a delicious masterpiece with no bad calories added. Not only can they add exciting flavours to any dish, but they also have a tremendous amount of health benefits. Some of the most important ways they help the body include their ability to boost the immune system, which stimulates it to fight infections and diseases, aid digestion, regulate metabolism, detoxify, lose weight, contribute to a healthy heart, skin, bones and a healthy diet overall.

Here are our suggestions for a few easy to find seasonal herbs and spices that will cool you off in the hot summer days and create a better balance for your body:

Mint

Mint is mostly known as mouth and breath freshener, but it has a lot more to offer than that. It has been used for centuries for its fantastic medicinal qualities. It helps digestion and provides relief from indigestion or inflammation. This is why mint is widely used as an appetizer and palate cleanser. It can also aid weight loss in a healthy way, simply by stimulating the digestive enzymes that are responsible for the absorption of nutrients from the food and consumption of fat, turning it into useable energy.
You can enhance pretty much any beverage with mint – water, tea, wine, soft drinks, and it will provide you with an instant cooling sensation. But it is also a great accompaniment for salads, yoghurt and lamb.

Coriander

Coriander is another widely underestimated herb that is often used as a garnish, put on the side of the plate and then thrown away in the rubbish. In fact, it contains eleven compounds of essential oils, six types of beneficial acids and a number of minerals and vitamins. Thus, it can help skin and vision disorders, reduce blood pressure in people suffering from hypertension, promote bone health as it is a rich source of calcium, stimulate digestion, reduce the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and even increase the levels of good cholesterol (HDL).
What more is there to ask! Add it to your curries, sprinkle some on your salads, juice it, enjoy its fragrance and benefit from its qualities.

Cumin Seeds

Cumin is generally considered as a boost for overall health. It has the ability to improve immunity and digestion. It has both stimulating and relaxing agents. The stimulants aid respiratory disorders, while the relaxants can treat insomnia. It also contains many vitamins and antioxidants. When consumed, cumin has a cooling and soothing effect on the body, making it a perfect summer spice.

Roasted cumin seeds are delicious in soups and curry pastes, on veggies and grains.

Fennel and Fennel Seeds

Fennel and its seeds are very aromatic spices with a liquorice taste. They are generally used as breath fresheners after meals, but they have a few more culinary as well as medicinal uses. Fennel is known to reduce obesity as it suppresses the appetite and creates a feeling of fullness. It is also a natural fat buster by boosting the metabolism and breaking down fats. More of its qualities include helping respiratory illnesses and heart problems, promoting eye health and improving memory and brain function.
You can easily implement fennel into your diet by adding the seeds to breads before baking, adding them to fruit salads or simply chewing them after meals. And fresh fennel root is great with cooked seasonal veggies.

Cardamom

Cardamom is another spice perfect for summer as it provides excellent digestion aid. It contains various vitamins and micronutrients as well, so it has a number of health benefits. The most well known of which are its anti-carcinogenic properties and its ability to aid cholesterol levels control. Furthermore, cardamom inhibits the growth and spread of microbes that cause food poisoning, as well as improving blood circulation.

Cardamom has a wonderful refreshing aroma that will boost the flavours of all your teas and smoothies, and make granola and yoghurt a dash more exciting.
There are many ways to make food appealing, but adding herbs and spices is by far the healthiest. By incorporating these natural flavours into your diet you are guaranteed to have exciting meals every day, which will provide your body with all the essential nutrients it needs to be healthy. After all, the most important thing about maintaining or starting a healthy diet is to enjoy our food.

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