Spices have long been used to improve the flavours of the foods that we eat, and they’ve become easy to obtain at most local shops.
But spices are more than just flavourings: they’re packed with a mix of various antioxidants and other compounds that have been proven to help the body and mind in a number of different ways.
When it comes to mental health, there are some spices that are better than others for helping with certain issues. For those that have a love of cooking and want to use spices for their mental health benefits, these are the spices that are worth focussing on.
Turmeric is a yellow spice that is made out of the root of the turmeric plant, and it has been a staple of Indian cooking for centuries. The compound that gives the spice its unique colour is curcumin, which is also one of the most powerful antioxidants in the world.
Not only does it decrease anti-inflammatory effects, but it has also been shown to fight cancer as well as reduce the chances of developing certain disease, such as Alzheimer’s. It’s a popular ingredient to add to curry – but it should be noted that turmeric should always be paired with black pepper in order to truly unlock its vast potential.
Saffron is by all accounts the most expensive spice on the market, and this is mainly due to the small amounts of saffron that can be acquired from the plants during harvesting. Regardless, it’s also one that might be worth investing for those that tend to suffer from symptoms of depression.
The powerful components contained within saffron have been shown to help fight off depression, and the effect is so strong that even just smelling the spice can offer benefits. It has a very strong flavour, so just adding a tiny bit to food can both improve the flavour while also provide the variety of benefits associated with this rare spice.
Sage is a herb that is a favourite in many countries in the middle east. It’s well-known for its strong smell and flavour, and it’s often added to roast dishes to give them a unique taste. Sage has also been found to help in cognitive function, including the reduced chance of developing memory problems and disease later on in life. It’s extremely cheap and easy to find, and is a great addition to any spice cupboard, and with enough patience and plenty of time, it can also be grown.
Ginseng has long been used in traditional medicine, being used to cure a number of issues, such as headaches, pain, and even mental health problems.
Research has found that ginseng is particularly good at dealing with inflammation in the body thanks to specific compounds known as ginsenosides. These can help reduce inflammation throughout the body, especially in the brain. This can be an important factor as recent studies have started to show a strong link between depression and inflammation in the brain.