When we hear the word spice, we tend to think of something being “spicy,” but that’s not always the case when it comes to cooking. Yes I use a little cayenne pepper every now and then, but there are tons of spices that I use in the kitchen everyday that really provide an excellent array of flavors (minus the kick) that help to inspire dishes and keep dinners at our house evolving. Besides the delicious taste of many of these spices, the health benefits can really super-charge your nutrition. Here is a look at my top four spices that I use to cook every week in my kitchen and why they’re so great!
Our Top Four Spices For Healthy, Plant-Based Cooking
Mint is often overlooked, but very tasty. You can use mint in tea, homemade jellies, sauces, rubs and marinades! Many restaurants serve mints after dinner or have them for you to grab on the way out for good reason. Mint aids in digestion and helps to provide digestive enzymes that can soothe digestion and aid in reducing inflammation. Here is a great graphic I found on Pinterest from organicfacts.com:
Often overlooked as a spice to cook with, Tumeric has a hidden super power…circumin. As the active ingredient in tumeric, circumin is a powerful antioxidant that helps coat the body’s cells with anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer goodness that can also increase brain function and working memory in a matter of hours! You can sprinkle tumeric into your foods as it is the only edible source of circumin, but you can typically see it in curry recipes because of its unmistakable yellow tint. With all of its health benefits, some are even saying that Tumeric is becoming this year’s super food!
Although ubiquitous, salt is many times overlooked as seasoning. The key to not using too much of it is to add it after you cook rather than during the cooking process, although adding modest amounts to a pot of boiling water as you prepare your veggies or rice will work well too! Himalayan salt is a staple at our house. Look for its pink color.
Organics.org states: The gem of the Himalayan Mountains, pink salt, is said to be the purest salt on earth. As the lava and mountain protected salt, it has been untouched for millions of years and not exposed to the modern day pollution. Himalayan salt happens to be 85% sodium chloride, and the remainder contains over 80+ minerals. These minerals can help your body balance your PH, regulate water content, remove toxins, help absorb nutrients, prevent muscle cramping, create balance and more. Himalayan Pink Salt is used in modern cooking around the world, in producing some of the world’s finest food. Known for its pure taste and its unique pinkish hue, the Himalayan Pink Salt is one of the top choices for salt.
Thyme is an extremely diverse herb. What do I mean by that? You can use on lots of different things. It’s perfect with freshly grilled veggies or even sauces and soups. Sometimes you can even use Thyme for desserts. My friend and fellow chef, Marc, calls this spice the “Tom Hanks of spices.” It’s really good in everything! For a great recipe on Orange Thyme Jam, check out this Orange Thyme Jam recipe from Minimalist Baker!
Just a few of these simple additions to your everyday cooking can go a long way for the health of you and your family. I have to give a huge shout-out to my friend Marc Hayward for helping me put some of these together. He is awesome. Keeping a fully stocked spice cabinet is one of the healthiest investments you can make! Keep going that extra mile for your family!