The Goodness in Spices

Mallika Basu - The Goodness in Spices

Posted 24th October 2006

spice bowlsI was startled to find musings on the blogosphere yesterday casting doubts on the benefits of spices. The goodness in the masalas used widely in Indian cooking is well-documented and the subject of regular research.

I ain’t no geek but I do take a close interest in what I consume. (Apart from exotic cocktails, chocolate biscuits and chorizo – i am a really sucker for Spanish cured meats).

The main masalas in Indian food are the dried powdered spices, the whole spices and the “wet” ingredients like onion, garlic and ginger. Fresh herbs like coriander, curry leaves and mint are also used widely.

As a starter for ten, here’s the lowdown or shall I say upside (I am so full of PR slang today) on the beneficial properties of some every day Indian masalas from published research:

  1. Turmeric: Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant that can prevent Alzheimer’s disease
  2. Chillies: Release feel-good endorphins in the body as a reaction and – wait for this – boost the metabolism temporarily helping the body to burn fat
  3. Cumin: Rich source of the natural painkiller salicylate
  4. Curry leaf: Can lower cholestrol and help weight loss
  5. Coriander: Aids digestion and helps fight against allergic reactions

Not to dwell on my favourite subject of Indian takeway food, but you’re unlikely to enjoy any of these wonderful properties given their unfettered use of colour, oil and artificial flavourings.

So, please cook Indian at home. And enjoy a curry’s natural goodness straight from the masala box into the pan!

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