Articles on spices

Health Benefits of Indian Spices

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
As Indians, we ensure that spices form the base of any dish. We are not satisfied with a dash of salt and a squeeze of sour lime, we need spices. If spices are consumed in moderation you can derive health benefits, but an overdose of any spice can lead to indigestion or even ulcers. Media portals are flooded with the health benefits of turmeric or haldi, but today we list out other Indian spices that are healthy and are kept under wraps. Let’s have a quick overview of Indian spices, their uses and benefits.Chilli (Lal Mirch) :It is the main component of Indian spices and is used for adding hot flavor to the food. The antioxidants present in chilli help to cope with cholesterol. It also helps in burning calories.Garlic (Lassan) :It is used for cooking as well as for the medicinal purpose. It is useful for coping with cough and cold. It also has antibiotic properties.Ginger (Adrak) :It is used for giving a specific flavor to food and has many medicinal uses. Helps to avoid digestive problems. It is beneficial for coping with cough and cold.Clove (Laung) :It is used as a cooking ingredient mainly for seasoning or preparing Masalas. Clove oil is beneficial for coping with tooth ache and sore gums. It is also beneficial remedy for chest pains, fever, digestive problems, cough and cold.Turmeric (Haldi) :It is used in cooking and skin care products. It has wide range medicinal uses. It helps in dealing with skin problems. Turmeric powder can be used for healing cuts and wounds. It also makes coping with diabetes easier.Cinnamon (Dalchini) :It is used mainly for seasoning food and preparing masalas. It has medicinal uses too. It supports natural production of insulin and reduces blood cholesterol.Coriander (Dhaniya) :Coriander leaves as well as coriander seeds are used in cooking. It also has some medicinal uses. It can be used externally on aching joints and rheumatism. It is also good for coping with sore throat, allergies, digestion problems, hay fever etc.Cardamom (Elaichi) :It is used in most of the Indian and other sweet dishes to give a good flavor and fragrance. It is also used widely in pharmaceutical sector. Helps to control bad breath and digestive disorder. A whole cardamom chewed is good for coping with diabetes.Cumin (Zeera) :It is used for cooking and it also possesses medicinal properties. It is a good source of iron and keeps immune system healthy. Water boiled with cumin seeds is good for coping with dysentery.Mustard (Rye) :It is used for seasoning. The use of mustard oil is extensive in India. Mustard oil is good for body massage and even for getting good hair. It consists of omega-3 fatty acids. It is an excellent source of iron, zinc, manganese, calcium, protein etc.Fenugreek (Methi) :It is mainly used as a green leafy vegetable and seeds are used for seasoning and preparing Masalas. It also has medicinal uses. Fenugreek seed tea or sweet fudge is good for increasing breast milk. It also helpful for treating diabetes and lowering cholesterol.Pepper (Kaali Mirch) :It is extensively used in cooking, especially for garnishing. It is has many medicinal uses too. It helps coping with cold, cough, infections etc. It helps to deal with muscle pains and digestive problems.Bay leaf (Tez Patta) :It is used in cooking to add a specific flavor to food. It also has some medicinal properties. Bay leaf oil possesses anti-fungal and anti bacterial.Saffron (Zaffran/Kesar) :It is one of the highly expensive Indian Spices. It is used for cooking as well as in beauty products. It is mainly used in sweet dishes. It has good medicinal properties. It helps to cope with skin diseases. It is a good remedy for cough, cold and asthma.

8 Herbs & Spices to Get Over That Sweet Tooth

Dr. Sandeep Jassal, General Physician
Sugar is extremely addictive, and the more of it you eat, the more you crave, and this is a scientifically proven fact. If you or your mind constantly are on the hunt for something sugary throughout the day, your body and brain are probably victim of this vicious sweet cycle. So, less sugar you eat, the less you’ll crave it.What does sugar intake do to your body?A diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates can surely keep on piling extra weight and thus hampering your weight loss goals. Try to cut out the sugar and even most of the refined grains for a couple of weeks and see if it makes a difference. Sugar can also create havoc in the gut, which hinders weight loss too.Sugar also suppresses the immune system, thus it impairs your body of its ability to keep off stress and chronic illness. Sugar is considered to be one of the biggest contributors to mood disorders like depression and anxiety. That’s the reason it is called “sugar blues. High sugar intake can put you on a rollercoaster of emotions that can be hard to get off of till you are committed to give up the sweet stuff. Brain fogginess and stress may be experienced in addition to depression and anxiety. The best part is that you feel your mood lighten when you begin to stay away from sugar.Here are listed few herbs and spices which help you to curb your sweet tooth-Fenugreek (Methi)Methi seeds are acknowledged in lowering blood glucose levels since ages, though very commonly used, fenugreek is one that anyone with a sweet tooth should be aware of. With its pleasant aroma of burnt sugar and delicious maple taste, fenugreek is the perfect way to please a sugar tooth.Cinnamon (Dalchini)Cinnamon is a highly popular spice universally, that can help stop a sugar craving. This amazing spice already has a slightly sweet taste that can satisfy a sugar craving, it also has other very important health benefits. This is very interesting to know for those who crave sugar, is cinnamon’s ability to reduce the glycemic level of the foods that it is eaten with. This can be cheering news for diabetics.Nutmeg (Jaiphal)Nutmeg when paired with pumpkin pie, not only produces the divine taste but renders lots of great benefits. No doubt, it has ability to help bring back comforting memories, nutmeg also helps naturally boost the serotonin levels in the body, which helps in elevating mood, reduce stress and also helps to keep carb cravings in check.Cardamom (Ilaichi)Very light and slightly sweet, cardamom is a popular herb, has a vanilla-lemon aroma that makes it truly unique. If during an attack of sugar craving, one can chew cardamom to keep away from sugar. It is a highly adaptive and versatile herb and can be added to yogurts, smoothies, puddings and oatmeal.Ginger (Adrak)Ginger has a strong taste that is not at all sweet, still it helps to curb a sweet tooth. It is spicy and perfect to pair with other spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom, making it the perfect spice to blend with. Using ginger not only helps curb sugar cravings but can also help soothe the stomach.Turmeric (Haldi)Turmeric is an all-round wonder spice, also used for its numerous health benefits. Turmeric is also used as an ingredient in diabetes formulations to clear toxins, and excess fat tissues and also helps in curbing the sugar craving.Black Pepper (Kali Mirch)Black pepper stimulates digestion, circulation and respiration. It contains chromium, a component of glucose tolerance factor, black pepper is a useful part of many diabetes treatments, normalizing fat tissue and preventing toxins from overflowing into the pancreas and curbs the sugar craving .Holy Basil (Tulsi)Tulsi is lavishly used not only for religious importance but also for its numerous health benefits. It has a soothing effect on the body and mind, enhancing mental clarity and stability. It acts on fat metabolism so can help to reduce weight, as well as blood sugar levels and total cholesterol and curbs the sugar cravings.Gear up and include these wonderful things in your life and spice up your life with ‘No Sugar Craving.’

Spice It Up to Boost Your Immunity

Ms. Mitalee Doshi, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Is there a viral infection going around cause of which you are dreading to send your child to school? Most of your colleagues seem to be sneezing is making you fearful of going to office? Now, you can grow past those worries. Here comes a list of herbs that will strengthen your body’s defense forces so can you be your kicking self all the time. Eating these wonder foods everyday will keep the doctor away.Our immune system does a great job of keeping us healthy and preventing infections. However, we need to support it with the right foods so it works better and in turn helps us in the process.Garlic – this grandmother’s ally has immense infection fighting ability. Being a natural detoxicant, unlike antibiotics there are no side effects. It protects our body against bacterial and viral infections. The three powerful compounds (allicin, ajoene and thiosulfinates) contained in it helps the body prevent and fight infections. In the mornings or as an after office snack you could toast up a slice of bread. Spread butter on it and sprinkle raw minced garlic over it. Relish a super garlic toast. Have you ever tried making some sauce by combining this herb with an egg yolk and some oil? Doesn’t it sound yum? If you can eat a clove of raw garlic in the morning, pick up that habit.Ginger – spicing up your meals with ginger is a great way for boosting your immune system naturally. It helps to cleanse the lymphatic system and prevent the accumulation of toxins in our body organs. The quickest way to incorporate ginger in your diet it to add finely chopped ginger to boiled water, let it steep for 2-3 minutes. Strain out ginger and sip good health. Sprinkle dried ginger into any salad dressing or add finely chopped pieces to soups.Turmeric – If there’s a healer sitting on your kitchen shelf it is this yellow herb. Curcumin, the active ingredient present in turmeric, is anti-viral and anti-fungal. Whenever you use turmeric, add black pepper also to the recipe. This will increase your body’s absorption of turmeric significantly. Eggs can be scrambled using butter and turmeric can be sprinkled over it. Don’t forget to add the pepper while you add salt. If you are a rice lover, adding turmeric to rice also adds good flavor. Curries and soups with a pinch of turmeric in them is the best way to include this root in daily diet.Basil (Tulsi) – Worshiped in most Indian homes eating the leaves of this herb every morning is a sure shot way to keep diseases at bay. It contains a wide range of essential oils rich in phenolic compounds that gives it the immune boosting properties. It stimulates liver cells to increase the appetite. Also, gives relief from cirrhosis and other infections of the liver. Whether adding it to pasta or to soups or while making pesto sauce it complements every food. Dried basil can be easily added to any dish including the chicken recipes.Oregano (dried ajwain) – doesn’t that pizza or garlic bread always taste better when this Italian herb is sprinkled over them? At least, I love it that way! Rosmarinic acid, which is a strong antioxidant found in oregano supports immune system health. It also has compounds that inhibits inflammation. Studies have shown it to be beneficial for conditions including osteoporosis and arteriosclerosis. You can garnish your omelettes with oregano. Oregano also goes great with sautéed mushrooms and onions too.Barley – loaded with beta-glucan which is a special fiber compound that has powerful antioxidant properties, you must consume this regularly. Barley water is known to be good for kidneys and also to treat arthritis and rheumatic diseases. It speeds wound healing and is thought to make antibiotics more effective. Boil barley until soft, strain the extract; add lemon or orange flavor and little bit of sugar if needed. You can refrigerate it and drink a glass daily.Rebuild your immune system by adding these natural superfoods daily in rotation. Adding these disease-fighting punch is the secret to a healthy family. And, healthy families are happy families. Aren’t they?

5 Top At-Home Spices That Aid Weight Loss

Dr. Sangeeta Malu, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Indian spices! They not only up the ante when it comes to conjuring lip-smacking gourmet meals, but also helps us lose weight too. Says who we cannot gorge on our favourite daal makahanis and naans, and still not lose that flab? Read on and know how our Indian spices make us shed weight! 1. CuminThree months with two groups of individuals at the esteemed Iran's Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences taught researchers testing the Indian spice as a weight loss catalyst. Eighty-eight obese women were chosen and divided into two groups - A and B. Group A had meals that were made with cumin as an active ingredient, while Group B was given cumin-free meals. Along with nutrition tips and counselling, and a strict check on the calorie intake for both groups, with a teaspoon of cumin powder added to the meals, the results were stunning at the end of ninety days. Group A, lost more weight consuming cumin in their daily diet and meals than Group B. 2. Garlic PowderIf all your life you have been hating garlic for its smell, remember it the power to mange our waistlines and keep it from expanding, say experts at Mount Sinai Hospital, London. With garlic pods or powder used in cooking meals, individuals tend to eat smaller portions and with slower bites, because of the initial aroma it brings to the nostrils when a dish is served. Garlic as studied upon helps with the thermogenic effect in the body. When the body temperature rises, the metabolism levels of the body increase and fat storage cells are burnt off. 3. TurmericEvery Indian kitchen has a bowl of turmeric, raw or in powder form, in their kitchen as it is used in most culinary dishes as well. The spice is a popular one and has plenty of beta-carotene in it. Along with that, turmeric has antioxidant properties, which fights the perils of ageing, skin tumours and cancers too. Turmeric also keeps the liver safe and protected from the onslaught of free radicals running amok. While the liver heals, the fats in the body are metabolised and the fat storage cells are brought down to a minimum as well. Apart from weight loss, turmeric can help keep the brain safe from Parkinson's and Alzheimer's too. 4. CinnamonThe research team at the United States Department of Agriculture studied the uses of cinnamon, an Indian spice that helps bring down the ill-effects of sugar in the body. Around twenty times more says the research, when a teaspoon of cinnamon is used, fat storage in the body can be brought down. The sugars in the blood are metabolised and the sugar levels are balanced as well, giving the body more energy to work with and stabilizing the mood too. 5. Chilli PowderChillies, raw or powdered, aren't only the best way to increase the spice quotient of a dish, but also helps to flush out fat from the body. Fat storage cells and chillies are loggerheads at one another, and reason enough for the thermogenic effect of the body that raises the heat and temperature too. While chillies make you eat less, they have capsaicinoids in them, which makes you burn more fat and eat slower.

7 Simple Ways to Spice Up Your Sex Life

Dr. Sharmila Majumdar, Sexologist
Are you looking to spice up things in bed?1. Keep FitSex is a bodily function. That means a healthy person is more likely to have successful sex than an unhealthy one. Having good cardiovascular health is especially smart, given that the vasculature down there is easily affected by poor conditions. Just having high cholesterol can trigger ED or FSD. Just taking a 20-minute brisk walk can benefit you immensely releasing all the endorphins (the happy hormones) and building your muscle and bone health, giving you a positive mood thereby boosting libido.2. Relaxation is criticalStress has a way of ruining sex lives through  psychological and physical means. Not everyone can have the luxury of taking time off work and heading to the  bedroom,but there are little steps everyone can take to get themselves more in the mood of a pleasure-focused evening complete with music, a couples bath or shower, and sensual massage with essential oils, followed by simple home cooked food with candles instead of electrical lighting.3. Communication This is utmost important for anyone who wants to get the most out of their sex life — or their relationship in general. "Communication is key," if you don't have communication, you're not going to get anywhere sexually. Talking honestly about sex can be difficult but any awkwardness will be well worth it. Of course, communicating sexual desires during the deed should be done delicately and any serious suggestions should be saved for a discussion later.4. Making it EmotionalFor  women, being spoken to in a romantic way is an important part of sexual arousal. Same applies to men too. Just basic compliments sprinkled throughout the day can make any partner feel more desired, which often translates to increasingly passionate reciprocation.5. Educating the self This can be a challenging task for long-term couples if they've never done it but nearly everyone benefits from some sexual education.  DVDs that explain more advanced and exciting sexual techniques. In particular, recommend are couples-based films.6. Hug RomanceAs relationships age, the people in them often settle into a comfort zone. There is plenty that's great about the comfort zone but feeling desired and loved should not be sacrificed. Whether it's flowers, an at-home dinner, or dancing to a favourite song, planning a special night of romance is a pretty simple way to spice a relationship.7. It's Not Just the OrgasmOverthinking sex is a nearly guaranteed way to take all the fun out of it. This can be a particular problem for men with a female partner because women tend to have a tougher time climaxing and some men see sex without orgasm as a failed effort. "The objective is to find ways to give each other pleasure," focusing on the journey rather than the destination is going to give more pleasure and cut off pressure on the couple.

Looking to Add Spice to Your Sex-Life? Take Notes

Ms. Manavi Khurana, Psychologist
Many couples do not work to re-ignite the passion in bed and inevitably, their sex life goes on a downward curve. Why does this happen? Is it that we get habituated to each other and the excitement or the novelty dies? Or is there a power dynamic in the house?  Is initiating sex only one sided? Is intimacy missing love?These days there are a number of factors that decide which way we are headed with intimacy. In India, where we are mostly a patriarchal family system, there may be some power dynamics that interfere with sex life. If one partner always initiates sex according to their desires or convenience then this can cause dissatisfaction and impact the quality of sex.  Talk about it if you feel like you are not getting a chance to initiate intimacy when you feel like this is becoming a pattern.There is resentment among those that live a fast/busy urban life that their partners do not have time for them or don’t necessarily “love” them. A lot of these couples are having sex but not making love. In intimate relationships one often feels the need for love outside the bedroom or instead of jumping straight at it; some foreplay. Things like kissing each other, smelling your partners’ neck or hair, kissing their forehead or massaging their shoulders can go a long way.  It is necessary to date your partner and make an effort every once in a while; this shows them that they are on your priority list with other things like your job, family, friends etc. If they don't for a long period of time when the other partner feels the need can often become cause for conflict and resentment. In this day and age where our devices consume us; our attention is a lot of time divided and switching from one thing to another; those couples that are able to keep sometime talking and paying complete attention to each other are able to communicate; get to know each other better and thereby are more compatible.Couples that have been together for long can try new and different things. This is important because marital discord can stem from lack of sexual intimacy.We usually create patterns and schedules and do things (or the lack of) accordingly. If you notice that you have created this routine; which is necessary for some especially those with children; you can try and get creative with being intimate at an odd hour or at a new space. Making the effort and actually trying new things every once in a while has a positive affect on the quality of your relationship. So go ahead and take the dive!Karma Center for Counselling & Wellbeing is a Holistic, Multidisciplinary and Wellbeing focused Mental Health Care Provider.We are a team of Clinical, Child, Counselling & Industrial/Organizational Psychologists. Our services include Counselling, Psychotherapy, Assessments,Trainings & Workshops.For moreinformation Please feel free to get in touch with us at info@karmacare.inPhone: 011-26155266  Website: www.karmacare.inAddress:F7/7 Vasant Vihar, 1st floor, New Delhi 110057 IndiaHours: Monday to Saturday 10.30am-6.30pm (Bookings by Appointment only)