Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Spices (Cinnamon, Ginger & Cardamom)

*Image NutmegSpiceCo.com

In the recent years my enjoyment of herbs and spices has increased. I have noticed how much seasoning adds to the foods I am making. I was talking to my sister about it. She was saying she noticed when she went on a cruise, the food was very salty. She was saying it is a cheap way to prepare food. I know seasoning is a very personal thing. I like a lot of seasoning. My daughter said her husband prefers things more bland. There is not a right or wrong answer it comes down to personal preference. The cool thing is that it can enhance your food as well as having benefits for your health. I find as I increase the spices in my foods, I can cut down on my sweeteners. :) Yes!

A friend asked me to write some info. on spices so here goes. Here is some information that I have found in my research.

*Image shespeaksbarkblogspot.com
Cinnamon:Can help with...
1. keeping your arteries healthy
2. mange blood sugar levels (supports natural production of insulin.
3. lowering Cholesterol
4. improving the circulation
5. anti-inflammatory and anti-clotting
6. antioxidant activity (richest source of all the spices)
*Suggested to take 1/4 tsp a day

Great ways to use it:
1. Add some to your oatmeal in the morning
2. I have been adding it to our green drink in the morning. Yum!
3. Add to your hot cocoa
4. Add to your baked goods
5. Put on your sweet potato or cooked carrots
6. Stir into your peanut butter

Image chefpriyanka.com

Ginger: Can help with...

1. digestive problems
2. colds and coughs
3. nausea and vomiting, and morning sickness (really helps)
4. Motion sickness (really works)
5. Powerful antioxidant
6. relaxing blood vessels
7. stimulate blood flow and relive pain
6. anti-inflammatory-that helps to fight, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer and arthritis.

Ways to use it:

1. Buy fresh ginger and grate into baked goods and salad dressing.
2. You can chew on a small piece of fresh ginger.
3. You can buy ginger chews or ginger pills.
4. Add to a stir fry or vegetables.
5. Cut off a fresh piece off and add to hot water for a refreshing drink.

* I love the calming effect on my stomach.
* If you buy the candied ginger make sure ginger is listed as one of the ingredients. Sometimes they add a ginger substitute.
*Stays fresh the longest if you store fresh ginger in the freezer. Just break off as needed.

Cardamom Benefits
*Image Buzzle.com

Cardamom comes from the ginger family and can help with...

1. stimulating digestion and relive indigestion. (Heart burn and bloating)
2. bad breath- gum infections
3. coping with diabetes (if you chew a whole cardamom)

4. improving appetite, metabolism and stomach infections
5. kidney functions

Ways to use:

1. It adds a extra flavor to baked goods that is really great!
2. Add to Indian dishes, soups or stews
3. Rice puddings, custards or ice creams
4. fruit salad
5. Chicken rubs or dishes
6. Can add to anything you would add cinnamon to.

Cardamon loses its flavor when ground. Pods lose 40% of flavor in a year. You can add the whole pod to soups and stews. The pod will usually dissolve while cooking. If it doesn't dissolve remove before serving. For baked goods scoop out the seeds from the pods, peel off the green seed covering, and grind in a coffee grinder or smash with something heavy. (I am going to try this. I have only used the already ground so far.)

I will add more spices tomorrow! =)

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