Healing Herbs & Spices

Chef Rebecca Katz, author of “The Cancer Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery,” says that nothing increases the “yum factor of food” better than herbs and spices.

Everyone knows that herbs and spices kick up flavor in any dish, but you may not realize that some of them also have powerful healing properties. Inflammation — the body’s natural ability to fight an injury — is thought to play a role in many diseases, including cancer. Studies show that turmeric, basil, rosemary, cloves, ginger and fennel help to regulate cellular inflammation. Other tasty spices work hard for your body, too. Cinnamon not only improves memory but also helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. Cumin is good for stimulating an appetite and the herb cilantro relieves nausea and anxiety.

To maximize the “healing powers” of dried herbs, take a tip from Katz and add them to your recipe at the beginning. The heat combined with fat, like olive oil, helps to release the herb’s oils that deliver not only flavor but also healing benefits. Fresh herbs, on the other hand, should be sprinkled in at the end of the recipe to yield the most health benefits.

Stock up on these 20 ingredients, and your spice rack will surely pack a healthy punch: allspice, anise, basil, cayenne, cilantro, chives, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, garlic, mint, nutmeg, oregano, parsley, saffron, sage, black pepper, sea salt and turmeric.

Categories: Recipes