HEALTHY LIVING : Spice up your food and reap the benefits

Mama Fahima was our neighbour a long time ago when we were still young children and living in exile. This woman taught me everything that a girl should know, but more so she taught me how to prepare some very tasty foods thereby introducing me to the world of spices.

Mama Fahima was our neighbour a long time ago when we were still young children and living in exile. This woman taught me everything that a girl should know, but more so she taught me how to prepare some very tasty foods thereby introducing me to the world of spices.

I must confess I loved every bit living in this small coastal town where I was born and grew. For a while I did not know what used to make our neighbour’s foods so delicious, but I was such a curious child that after so many questions and begging she told me the secret of making delicious foods was her ability to use different spices in whatever food she was preparing. Spices not only make our foods delicious, they are also medicines and are good for our general health she told me one day.

Of course I was not interested in the medicine part at the time, but more so by the fact that these little things can make our foods so tasty. Out of that; I became a very good cook and if I am allowed to blow my own trumpet, I can prepare very tasty food for as many people as long as I am equipped with what it takes.

Functions in my family have never been a problem; i prepare foods for whatever number of people to be invited. In fact when people eat the food I prepare they tend to ask the recipe not knowing that most of the time the spices add it all and nothing magical. You should see my mother’s face when people praise her on her daughter’s culinary skills!

As much as I would want to heap all the praises on myself; these spices do some wonders both in terms of making the foods delicious and at the same time provide some medicinal elements in them.

It was only after I was found to be hypertensive that I came to really appreciate what these spices can do to one’s life as we look into what each can do in case in terms of helping us stay healthy.

Ginger

Nothing makes my day like a cup of sugarless tea with ginger. Ginger is a perennial plant, distinguished by the white and yellowish-greenish flowers it produces, as well as its thick and long twisting stem.

It originated in China over 5000 years ago. Ginger has been used as a natural remedy for many ailments for centuries. Now, science is catching up and researchers around the world are finding that ginger works wonders in the treatment of everything from cancer, common cold to migraines. A little bit of ginger in tea can do some wonders.

Garlic

Garlic is one spice that can turn any miserable tasting food into a tasty dish. As much as it makes the foods tastier, it has also been known to keep some ailments like cold, cancer, heart disease and some infections; but more so I can attest that it helped to control my blood pressure.

Whether raw or cooked, garlic is beneficial. But since some people cannot tolerate the taste or the garlic breath and therefore prefer to add garlic to their diet via supplements. If you are adding fresh garlic to your food, start with a little at a time as too much garlic can upset your stomach if you are not used to it.

Cinnamon

Can lower blood sugar, triglycerides and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes; It Contains cur cumin, which can inhibit the growth of cancer cells

Rosemary

Stops gene mutations that could lead to cancer and may help prevent damage to the blood vessels that raise heart attack risk

Paprika

Contains capsaicin, whose anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects may lower the risk of cancer (also found in cayenne and red chili peppers). There’s no specific recommended dose, but moderation is probably the best way to go.

Since spices are still not commonly used around here, I would urge women to start using them; as much as they would give their culinary skills a boost, they will also be managing the health of their family members in one way or the another.

To stay clear to some of the common ailments like the common cold, it is advised to use these spices whenever possible. For women who complain that their men do not appreciate their cooking skills, to man’s heart is through his stomach! Some little spicing can make the man come home early. Ginger can also boost the systems of some males with impotence problem.

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