Our ongoing Purposeful Nutrition Series discusses ways to harness the energy of nature, draw it into our daily lives, and become one with it as we age.
If you’ve been following along, you know that you can accomplish this by eating food that provides life and vitality: Plants!
You can make every cell in your body glow through the divine energy offered by fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and herbs and spices. Eating a rainbow of colors will support your health goals. You may remember a recent post on turmeric.
Today, let’s continue to highlight the herb and spice powerhouses.
Most people season their food with salt and pepper, but many may not be aware that using a variety of herbs and spices can offer extra flavor and a lengthy list of health benefits. Herbs and spices boast impressive pigment power due to their amazing phytonutrients called flavonoids. The gorgeous kaleidoscope of colors can turn your cooking and dining experience into an enjoyable multi-sensory event.
Technically, there’s a difference between herbs and spices. Herbs come from the leafy part of the plant, and spices come from the non-leafy part of the plant — the root, stem, bulb, bark, flower, and seed. But for the purposes of this article, we don’t need to be overly technical. I’ve combined herbs and spices into one grouping of culinary favorites. Some of the items on our list have been used medicinally, as well. For example, ginger tea has been used to soothe nausea and to improve digestion.
Let’s review a sample list of culinary herbs and spices:
Cinnamon, sage, turmeric, basil, cayenne pepper, ginger, rosemary, oregano, garlic, nutmeg, cumin, thyme, coriander, dill weed, clove, saffron, peppercorn, cardamom, vanilla, paprika, and many more…
Do you recall the top benefits of herbs and spices?
Besides adding flavor to your food, herbs and spices contain essential vitamins and minerals; support digestion; enhance mood; and boast antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, and immune-boosting properties. This impressive list of benefits provides many reasons to line the shelves of your spice cabinet with natural flavors. Plan to experiment with a new spice every month. A great article in medicalnewstoday.com, “10 of the healthiest herbs and spices and their health benefits,” is an excellent resource.
Feature Focus: Cardamom
Perhaps not as well known as other spices, cardamom is considered one of the world’s oldest spices. Not only is it a powerful detoxifier with antibacterial properties, it also supports healthy blood pressure, liver functioning and breathing, and has been used to aid in weight loss. And this spice is packed with vitamins. It has therapeutic benefits as well — I have used it as an effective digestive aid.
Besides all the great health attributes, cardamom tastes amazing and has a delightful aroma. I would describe ground cardamom as warm and spicy. The aroma is something like a cross between nutmeg and cinnamon, with a grapefruit undertone. Cardamom has its own unique characteristics and can certainly add a special dimension to favorite recipes. Caution: A little goes a long way.
I think cardamom goes well with blueberries and blackberries. Some of my desserts would not be the same without this versatile spice. Sink your fork into my decadent No Bake Blueberry Pie. Also, try sprinkling a little in your stews. And for variety, a dash of cardamom and a pinch of vanilla bean powder can transform your hot oatmeal into a happy breakfast choice.
Do you like to track the science? For more information about cardamom, check out this article by healthline.com, “10 Health Benefits of Cardamom, Backed by Science.”
Remember: Health is an action — we must practice mindful living in order to reach mastery.
There are two types of cardamom. One is light green and has a delicate aroma, and the other is dark brown with a strong, smoky aroma.
Four Steps to Nourish, Transform and Flourish
• Set a loving intention to add herbs and spices to your plate this week.
• Begin by selecting herbs and spices you like, and find out more about how they are used.
• How will including more colorful choices to your menu improve the quality of your life?
• Close your eyes and visualize how this lifestyle change can prepare you for your amazing second half.
Need help with meal planning?
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In love, peace and health--
Your feminine glow guide,
T. Kari Mitchell, M.Ed.
Certified Holistic Health Coach
When your spirit is nourished, your inner light produces an outer glow reflecting your beauty and truth.