Tired of choking fresh and tasteless food? Discover new culinary horizons and add spices to your diet that are not only fantastically tasty, but also incredibly useful!
Look at any low-end television series where one of the characters tries to switch to healthy food, and you will be covered by a wave of patterns and stereotypes. In the first frames of the episode, the character with genuine sadness in his eyes looks at rice loaves and steamed fresh vegetables. Before the final credits, the hero hides in the linen closet and eats with an exhilarating look of ice cream with a banana, nuts and whipped cream.
The moral of this fable is as follows. If your idea of "proper nutrition" is reduced to the same type of food that every day will have to eat, you will not be successful. Nutritional monotony is a real obstacle to a healthy body and high sports results. But what about those who do not own all the wisdom of culinary art? How to avoid a gastronomic impasse? The answer is simple: learn to use condiments!
Seasonings and sauces are a great way to add bright colors to the monotonous menu and at the same time give the body a lot of useful substances. Spices are practically non-caloric, which means that you can experiment without any restrictions.
First of all, take advantage of a simple advice: if for years of oblivion your spice regiment has covered with a thick layer of dust, send these relics to the trash can and buy fresh seasonings. Over time, spices lose their properties, and this difference in taste you will surely feel!
In recent years, cayenne pepper does not come off the front pages of newspapers and magazines. The reason for this is the unprecedented popularity of its active ingredient capsaicin – alkaloid, which is the secret ingredient of many repellent sprays, and also acts as a boost of metabolism. Producers increasingly include capsaicin in thermogenics and powerful analgesics for topical application, but even the student is clear that the optimal source of capsaicin will be hot pepper on your table.
In addition to giving the new piquant taste of fresh and orderly boring dishes, the acuteness of pepper sauces will act as an effective inhibitor of appetite. Here is what became known as a result of one scientific work: people who added seasoning with capsaicin to food consumed an average of 200 calories less than subjects deprived of hot sauces and forced to eat fresh food.
Scientists have discovered far from all the useful properties of cayenne pepper, but already today there are reasons to believe that it strengthens the cardiovascular system and even fights against malignant cells in the prostate gland.
Do you consider yourself a fan of hot sauces? Then I dare to assume that you already have capsaicin in your diet. However, the powder of cayenne pepper is still worth a try. You can add a delicate but pervasive acuity to almost any hot dish. Perhaps, in the beginning you will not feel it, but by the end of the meal it will make you shed a few tears!
Garlic will make vampires stay away from you. Do you need more compelling reasons to eat garlic? Okay, there are too many of them!
To begin with, garlic has a powerful antibacterial, fungicidal and antiviral effect. It reduces the severity of inflammatory reactions, and according to some studies it helps to lower blood pressure. In 2007, scientists managed to prove that the inclusion of garlic in the menu sharply increases the level of hydrogen sulphide in the body, the most powerful antioxidant that improves peripheral circulation. Hydrogen sulfide is rarely found in foods, which is why many people use garlic diets as part of a diet designed to prevent oncology and cardiac diseases.
As a seasoning, you can use dry garlic slices or garlic powder, but nothing compares to the taste and benefit of this garlic. All because the useful properties of garlic are largely related to allicin, a chemical compound that is released when crushed, cut or chewed – if you like it – a raw clove of garlic. In food additives based on garlic, allicin is also present, but in garlic powder it is not. Does this mean that the garlic powder is worthless? No, it still remains a powerful antioxidant, although it can not be considered a "superfood", like a natural chive of garlic.
And here is an occasion for discussion during the next dinner party. Regardless of what you could hear earlier, all the anticarcinogenic properties inherent in raw garlic are preserved in the process of cooking. At least, if you know how to cook it properly. If you start cooking garlic immediately after grinding, the anti-cancer allicin does not have time to synthesize. Therefore, it is very important to grind garlic for ten, and even better forty-five minutes before cooking.
And do not thank me, especially with such garlic exhaust!
The fact that you refused cinnamon rolls for breakfast does not mean that you should avoid the eponymous spice! In addition to the fact that we have a real "superfood" – that is, useful properties of cinnamon so much that you can not tell in one article – cinnamon is a universal seasoning that increases the depth of the aroma and taste of both sweet and savory dishes.
Why start a conversation about the beneficial properties of cinnamon? Cinnamon is a natural preservative with antibacterial action, which means that it inhibits the growth of bacteria and increases the shelf life of products. In several experiments, it has been shown that cinnamon lowers the concentration of LDL cholesterol and helps reduce glycemia in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
In another scientific work, it was reported that in a few days of taking ½ teaspoon of cinnamon at breakfast, patients with arthritis noted a decrease in the intensity of joint pain. It is also an effective anticoagulant and stimulant of mental activity, and what is more interesting, cinnamon is able to slow the proliferation of leukemic cell lines in leukemia and lymphoma.
Want to use the full program of healing properties of this ancient spice? Then it's worth spending time and money on finding and buying "real cinnamon". Look for Ceylon cinnamon, which was used in scientific experiments. The standard "cinnamon supermarket" is often made from another plant, the so-called cinnamon tree. This spice has certain useful properties, but it is far from Ceylon cinnamon.
You are well aware that cinnamon perfectly complements the taste of oat flakes, protein pancakes and a cup of morning coffee. It's time to take the next step and add cinnamon to stew, chilli sauce or fried vegetables. Finally, decorate with cinnamon the tasteless unpolished rice, which you choke at dinner. I guarantee you will not regret it!
Many people literally hate coriander, and it's not about taste preferences. Scientists have found out that some of us have genetic characteristics, because of which the taste of the plant is perceived approximately as a taste of soap. However, for everyone else, coriander is the key flavor of guacamole soup and an indispensable ingredient in many Eastern dishes.
Whatever category of people you consider yourself, the healing potential of coriander leaves is beyond doubt. Like cinnamon, the plant has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect, plays the role of a natural preservative and protects against salmonella. In addition, coriander helps to fight all sorts of pathogens, from bacterial gastric infections to infections of the urinary system. In the long term, coriander helps reduce cholesterol, reduces menstrual pain, swelling and nausea.
But there is one drawback, because of which many people continue to avoid coriander. Cilantro, which we buy in supermarkets, quickly fades and the next day it becomes sticky to the touch. Fortunately, there are ways to remedy the situation. Upon returning from the supermarket, thoroughly rinse the coriander and wrap the stems in wet paper towels.
With this simple technique you can store coriander for a week. You can also freeze it, but only after blanching – pour the cilantro with boiling water and immediately put it into ice water. In addition, you can prepare pesto sauce from coriander, or you can go to the store of Asian or Indian cuisine and look for traditional Indian seasonings "chutney" with cilantro.
Since coriander is popular all over the world, the possibilities are truly limitless!
The curative properties of most seasonings are manifested only with prolonged use. In the case of ginger, you can get everything right away.
If you are predisposed to seasickness, someone probably advised you as an effective remedy for motion sickness tablets with ginger, ginger tea or crystallized ginger. Science confirms the correctness of such advice, moreover, ginger is recognized as a great tool for fighting nausea, stomach upset and diarrhea. For this reason, it is often recommended to women suffering from morning sickness.
Ginger blocks the synthesis and secretion of prostaglandins, hormone-like substances that cause a sensation of pain and heat. This feature of the product formed the basis of experiments that showed that ginger is effective in relieving headaches with migraines and pain caused by menstrual cramps.
In stores you can buy a root of ginger, as well as dry seasonings based on it or – and I strongly recommend it – ginger paste or puree. It will be a perfect addition to any fried dish and is ideal for marinade for chicken, salmon, pork or beef. And when you roast or bake potatoes in the oven, sprinkle it with grated ginger, and the dish will acquire a unique fresh fragrance. Or you can use ginger as a secret ingredient in salad dressing!
All seasonings from this list are well known to you, even if you do not know everything about their beneficial properties. It's time to go into the closet with spices and find turmeric there. This is the standard component of most curry powders and the secret ingredient of mustard, which gives it a bright yellow color. But this spice of Southeast Asia is itself very useful.
Curative properties of turmeric are associated with the presence in it of the active component of curcumin – a powerful anti-inflammatory substance, which in recent years has been at the center of numerous and promising clinical studies. Scientists say that curcumin can prevent and reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, chronic kidney pathology and some of the most dangerous types of cancer.
In the future, we will know more about the beneficial properties of turmeric, and now at least think about adding a pinch of turmeric to the meat marinade next time. Experiments have shown that turmeric dramatically reduces the number of carcinogens formed during the cooking of barbecue or meat on the grill. In addition, turmeric is effective against E. coli, a dangerous causative agent of infectious diseases.