We all supplement our food unless you cook totally pure without herbs or spices.
Usually, we season our food because of the taste, yet spices are also a great source of necessary vitamins and minerals. We can season food for health benefits.
As an artist, I can’t resist mentioning that spices also make a great dye for paper and fabric. But don’t worry, this article is about how to season food. Although cooking is of course also an artistic process. 🙂
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How to season food for health benefits?
Spices add taste to food, yet are also packed with nutrients that benefit our health. If you have a (minor) ailment it is a good idea to look up which spice will be especially great for you because different spices benefit different parts of your body.
Who decides which spices to use?
I’ll be honest with you, I don’t cook. My husband, Tom, is spoiling me by cooking the most delicious and healthy food you can think of. I am the one researching all the nutritional facts. And eating it, of course!
For Tom taste comes first in choosing which spice goes in the food. But especially now in Corona times, it is good to keep an eye on our immune system and wherever possible, boost it with spices.
Tip: different colors of food have different vitamins and minerals. A great rule of thumb is to eat as many colors on a day as possible. It goes without saying that I don’t mean artificially colored food. Have a look at our eBook Use the Colors of Food to Benefit your Health for an extended explanation.
Eight spices we use a lot
Whenever possible Tom uses fresh herbs we grow in our own kitchen garden. Even though we live in a subtropical area, not everything grows here. And sometimes it is out of season. So dried herbs and powders are on the menu as well.
Some nutritional elements will be more concentrated in powder, but there are losses too. For instance, Vitamin C is more present in fresh stuff than in dried form. The main reason for using powders is the availability and the simplicity to use.
The 8 listed spices are a personal preference and certainly not the only spices we eat.
Paprika powder – when your blood can use a boost
Personally, I think that fresh bell pepper and paprika powder differ the most in taste from all the powders we often use. It supports healthy digestion and like a lot of spices, it is good for a healthy heart.
Paprika powder contains a lot of Vitamin E which is a powerful antioxidant. As with all orange-colored food, it’s very beneficial for our skin and eyes.
Cinnamon powder – great on desserts
Cinnamon is not as orange as paprika powder but has the same health benefits. The taste is different of course. Where paprika powder is tasting rather hot than sweet, cinnamon has a kind of sweet touch.
It’s Tom’s favorite on his homemade apple-pear sauce. He does not sweeten the apple-pear sauce.
He lets apples and pears simmer with a little water at a low temperature and lets it thicken. The cinnamon gives it a specific taste he likes very much.
It reminds me of my mother’s apple pie. That also contained a lot of cinnamon.
Stevia powder – for the sweet tooth
That apple pie of my mother also had a ton of sugar. I don’t think I could eat it nowadays; it’s been ages since I ate refined sugar. Once you get used to the real taste of vegetables and meat (we don’t add salt either) it’s amazing to realize how sugar and salt affect your taste.
Not that a sweet taste is bad and stevia is great for that. Moreover, it has the same benefits as the other spices. Like reducing blood pressure and lowering cholesterol levels.
Spirulina powder – something good from the sea
Spirulina is an alga and is known to be packed with nutrients. Apart from the vitamins and minerals, it’s a plant-based source of iron, making it an excellent supplement for vegans and vegetarians. As most algae come from the sea it also contains salt. Something to take into account if you are on a salt-free diet.
I love spirulina the most in a smoothie with lots of green vegetables.
Spirulina is quite a hype lately, so make sure you buy good quality. There were some concerns in the past about contamination, so better safe than sorry.
Curcuma – an anti-inflammatory solution
Curcuma has been one of the magic herbs for me since I discovered all the health benefits. We’ve only been eating it for a few years now. In fact, I believe, since we live in Spain. What a pity, isn’t it?
Curcuma is also called Turmeric and is widely used in Indian cuisine. In Asia, they discovered the medicinal effect of the herb centuries ago.
There are many health benefits of eating Curcuma daily, the most important of which are: anti-inflammatory, analgesic, lowering cholesterol, detoxifying, probably even reducing cancer.
There is less Alzheimer’s in India than in the rest of the world, which may well be related to the use of Curcuma.
Ashwagandha – against cell aging
Another herb commonly used in Indian cooking as well as in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medical science, is Ashwagandha.
I use it daily to sleep better but there are more benefits to Ashwagandha. It prevents cell aging, lowers stress, has an antidepressant effect, and is good for memory and thinking.
If you are sensitive to plants of the nightshade family, such as potatoes, eggplant, and tomatoes, it is wise to be careful. Ashwagandha also belongs to the nightshades.
Related: The 4 Best Supplements to Help You Sleep at Night
Ginger powder – to improve digestion
I absolutely love ginger. We eat it a lot as it not only tastes marvelous but has many health benefits. It calms the stomach if you have digestive problems or gas. Ginger even seems to reduce the symptoms of motion sickness.
It’s a great tea when you feel chilly in wintertime. Not only the temperature of the tea will warm you because of its diaphoretic quality.
Cut fresh ginger into small pieces and pour hot water on it. Let it steep for 5 to 10 minutes and your tea is ready.
Garlic powder – be aware of smells 🙂
Garlic is said to purify the blood. Hence its beneficial effect on heart diseases and blood pressure. From ancient times on it is used for medicinal purposes.
Here in Spain, everybody eats garlic. Not in the Netherlands. If we were going to meet friends or have a meeting we would skip the garlic as most Dutch hate the smell. Making us very glad we live in Spain now. It’s always on our menu nowadays.
Garlic powder smells even more than fresh garlic. A trick is to chew parsley or mint leaves after your meal. That reduces garlic or onion smells.
How much should we add?
There are 3 reasons why it is almost impossible to mention the quantity of adding spices.
- Supplementary powders and spices are not scientifically tested, making it very hard to be accurate at the appropriate doses;
- Plants depend on the type of soil and the climate for their composition, so that can vary;
- Countries have different standards for recommended units.
How do we know it’s organic?
It is the comment I get most when I propagate organic food. I have to say that I sometimes get annoyed by this comment because questions are rarely asked about the amount of poison used in ‘normal’ agriculture. On the other hand, it is good to keep an eye on the quality of what you eat.
Both the EU and the USA have a symbol that indicates something is organic. The standards that organic must meet are very high. The EU has a control system and rules are even more strict since 1 January 2021.
Related: The Advantages of Organic Farming Vastly Outweigh those of Conventional Farming
Apart from the symbols, you can look at the reputation of the brands. Are the marketing texts meaningful or in fact not saying anything valuable? And have a good look at the nutritional information. Avoid added artificial sweeteners or something with E-numbers on it.
What spice do you love to add to your food? Tell me in the comment box.
19 thoughts on “Season Food for Health Benefits with Organic Tasteful Spices”
To be honest, I don’t really like ginger and garlic. My mother’s forced me to eat all of them. Right now, she gave me some supplements which contain some spices in capsules and some of them are powder like what you mentioned before. Food supplement helps me to get all 5 food groups.
I miss her so much when I read your article. I will call her after that.
Thanks for your great article and all the best.
Thanks for responding, Kumponchai. Although our instincts are not always reliable in these modern times, chances are high your body won’t take ginger and garlic well if you hate it that much. It’s always good to try to find out whether it’s ‘childhood traumas’ or ‘I really hate it’. Thank goodness there are lots of other healthy goods, so you have ample choice if you want to take good care of your body. 🙂
I love spices! They add so much flavour to food and have great health benefits too. Growing up, my parents rarely used spices in their food, so it was fun to explore with them once I moved out on my own. I love putting cinnamon on cut up apples, oatmeal or my coffee. I’m trying to add turmeric to more foods, as it’s so good at reducing inflammation and other things. And garlic just makes food taste so much better! Great post.
Thanks, Carla. Isn’t that funny, nor did my parents. Probably partly because there was less choice of products and partly out of prejudice, “What we don’t know, we don’t want”. 😀
I wouldn’t say I necessarily appreciate the taste of Turmeric, but turmeric is the one I like for its health benefits. It’s anti-inflammatory effects to be specific.
My granddaughters love to have peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon toast. It’s their favorite snack. And for the most part healthy.
I do question organic brands sometimes as well. I just can’t consider Prego spaghetti sauce as organic, but it’s on the label. But that’s for another day.
Garlic is another one I tend to use a lot. It adds a lot of flavor but also has great health benefits.
Thanks, Teresa. And you are right to always be critical, especially about marketing humble jumble. We rarely buy ready-made stuff. Even if they use organic products, they will have to add something to make it last longer. So I don’t trust these either. 🙂
I absolutely love using spices and I use most of these. I heard great things about cinnamon especially for lowering a1c levels and although I haven’t been diagnosed with diabetes it runs in my family so I like to eat in a way to prevent everything I can. I have never heard of Spirulina but would love to see some recipes where it is used. Thanks for showing these great spices, benefits, and tips!
Thanks, Melissa. Yes, there is a lot you can do to prevent diabetes. Good of you to start on that before you have it! I’ll share my smoothie recipe with spirulina one of these days. Good tip!
Thank you, I can’t wait for it!
Thank you so much for this highly informative article, Hannie! I definitely want to eat better, and knowing which herbs and spices will provide a quality taste, along with a plethora of health benefits, is extremely useful! I regularly use cinnamon powder on my desserts (especially cakes, pies, and cupcakes), and it is delightful! Haha I have never tried the other powders that you mentioned, but I am definitely going to give them a try. BTW, God bless your husband for being the chef of the family-good man, good man (all of the men in my family cook as well. Thank you, Jesus! Haha). Haha. I have saved your site and will definitely share it with my friends and family. God bless you!
Thanks, CN, and I totally agree – I am also very grateful for my husband 😀
I admire all cooks who are able to prepare a meal out of the blue. I always need a cookbook when I make lunch. Aren’t you lucky as well that you are surrounded by marvelous cooks!
I love eating all of these, apart from stevia powder. I have never really used it. What is it and what would I use it in?
I have it mainly for the grandchildren. Stevia is a replacement for refined sugar. It’s from leaves, that’s why it’s green and very sweet.
Instead of Stevia, you can also use maple syrup or fruits. Or leave it out, if you haven’t got a sweet tooth. 🙂
Great article Hannie!
Personally I love many kinds of spices, our place produces great tasty kinds, but my taste buds can’t tolerate spicy food.
Anyway, it was a great read, specially about the different kinds of organic spices.
keep up the good work!
Thanks, Sulaiman. I don’t like too hot spicy food either. It’s good not every spice is spicy 🙂
Sometimes the spices used in a plate are so strong the inside of my mouth is on fire. I think that’s a pity for the food itself because the taste of the spice is so predominant.
I love spicy food, and your organic spices definitely do sound like they could enhance my food quite a lot. I eat a lot of chicken which can be boring at times. Spicing it up with your recommendations here will definitely make dinner time more interesting for me.
Thank you for sharing and keep up the great work.
All the best,
Thanks, Tom. We also eat a lot of chicken, and my husband (whose name happens to be Tom as well) marinates it at times with these spices. Delicious!
I’m a huge fan of herbs and spices and I can’t imagine eating any food without some form of seasoning.
In fact, I’ll even eat an omlette with plenty of fresh herbs and a pinch of paprika and cumin.
Much like Tom has commented, I’m a huge fan of chicken, I probably eat chicken at least 5-6 times a week, and without the use of wide variety of spices, I’m sure this would eventually become very boring.
I must admit I don’t actually go for organic spices. I’m aware of the many benefits of organic whole foods, but have never really considered whether there are as many advantages when it comes to organic spices.
Would the main benefit of organic spices be that there are no synthetic chemicals and pesticides used in the cultivation process?
Are there any other factors I should be aware of?
Anyway, a great read Hannie, I thoroughly enjoyed this article.
Keep up the great work.
Thanks so much, Partha.
Plants that are not artificially fertilized will grow slower most of the times. That way their taste will be stronger. But the main benefit is indeed not getting pesticides and other horrible stuff into your body.
Take care 🙂