You are bound to find a large selection of spices at any Indian grocery store
. These spices are used in a large range of Indian dishes to add flavour and aroma. But did you know many of them are also great for your body? Many Indian spices offer a number of health benefits. Here are 5 that specifically help with your digestive tract.
Ginger is one of the most widely used spices. Known for its warm flavour, it is used in a wide number of dishes and even beverages. What it’s also famous for is its digestive properties. From ancient times, ginger has been an essential part of Asiatic medicine because of these properties.
Ginger helps relieve gas and bloating. It is well known to combat nausea of all sorts, including that from morning sickness and motion sickness. The spice also stimulates saliva, bile, and intestinal lipase production. It also helps relieve gastrointestinal irritations and cramping. This helps your gut pass along digested food more easily, and may benefit those suffering from constipation. Ginger is readily available at any Indian grocery store in many forms. Whole ginger, dried powder, paste, and even pickled ginger can be easily found.
Cinnamon, or as known as Dalchini in India, is widely used for its warm and pleasant flavour. The spice is used both in sweet and savoury dishes. It has found particular global fame for its use in desserts and baked goods. Originating from India, it has been used around the world for its medicinal properties from the age of the Arabian spice trade.
Cinnamon supports the growth of good gut bacteria through its prebiotic properties. These help you digest food better. It also helps prevent harmful bacteria from growing in your digestive tract. The spice also works as an anti-inflammatory agent and helps reduce digestive discomfort and imbalance. Cinnamon can be found at Indian grocery stores as flat sticks, rolls, and dried powder.
Turmeric is perhaps the most famous of Indian spices. Known for its bright yellow-orange colour, it is used in a wide range of Indian cuisine. One can hardly even think of an Indian curry without turmeric. However, its uses go far beyond just in the kitchen. Since ancient times, turmeric has been a part of Indian herbal medicine. The spice has many health benefits, but is most famous for its effects on digestion.
Turmeric contains the compound curcumin that works as a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti oxidising agent. It too has great prebiotic effects, and supports the growth of healthy gut microbes. Indian grocery stores usually carry turmeric in both whole and dried powder forms.
4. Fennel Seeds
Fennel seeds are an Indian spice known for their sweet, liquorice-like flavour. However, they aren’t just used in cooking. The spice has long been used in Indian, and later Iranian herbal medicine for its digestive benefits.
On one hand, fennel seeds contain phytochemical compounds that help breakdown food. This aids directly in the digestion of food in your gastrointestinal tract. In many parts of the world, it is common to chew on fennel seeds after a meal to fight gas and bloating. This is because fennel has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It helps to reduce inflammation in the gut and decreases gas-forming bacteria. Whole fennel seeds also contain a lot of fibre which helps relieve both constipation and diarrhoea. This spice can be bought as whole seeds and as a ground powder at any Indian grocery store.
5. Green Cardamom
Green cardamom is an Indian spice well known for both aroma and flavour. It has a fresh, eucalyptus-like fragrance, and imparts a mildly sweet flavour to dishes. At the same time, the spice has powerful digestive benefits.
Green cardamom has been used for thousands of years as a digestive aid. It is often used alongside other beneficial spices as a remedy for digestive discomfort and nausea. In the modern day, there has been a lot of medical research on its ability to heal gastric ulcers. Animal trials have found that cardamom can both prevent ulcers, and reduce their size by 50%. Lab studies have also found that the spice can protect against the bacteria that causes most stomach ulcers. Green cardamom can be bought at Indian grocery stores from a variety of brands.