Most people think spices flavor only food, but there are many that have shown to have health benefits – especially for the digestive system. While there are many spices, here are five of the most common that can help with digestive issues:
This spice comes from a flowering vine. The fruit it produces is harvested and dried yielding peppercorns. When the peppercorns are ground, a chemical called piperine is released and it stimulates the digestive system by increasing the flow of saliva and gastric juices. This in turn helps reduce indigestion, gas and bloating. Black peppercorns can be added to food during the cooking process or ground pepper added right before the meal is eaten.
This slightly sweet spice comes from the seed pods of the plant and not only helps as a digestive aid by reducing flatulence, but can also be used as an antiseptic when applied topically to help heal infections. It is commonly used in Middle Eastern dishes, but can also be added to tea and used as a drink.
This herb is used as a condiment or garnish typically in East Indian dishes for flavoring. But for those that have IBS-D, the oil from the seed can be more beneficial as it can help with diarrhea. It is antispasmodic which helps relax the digestive muscles. Plus, it has anti-oxidant properties too which help protect cells from free radicals.
Used frequently in Mexican and East Indian foods, this spice not only provides a unique flavor to food, but it too reduces flatulence and aids in digestion. Because of the compound Cuminaldehyde in its essential oil, it kicks the digestive process into high gear while still chewing food by activating the salivary glands in the mouth. Secondly it helps with digestion due to another compound called thymol which stimulates the acids, bile and enzymes in the stomach and digestive tract making for a more complete breakdown of food. When ground cumin is mixed with water and drank, it can help relieve a stomach ache.
Coming from a root of a plant in the ginger family, this spice has been used for over 2,500 years in East Indian food to treat excess acidity and indigestion. It is also used to stop the growth of the bacterium H pylori which can cause stomach ulcers and even stomach cancer.
Plus, it can treat a whole host of conditions from cuts, burns and bruises when used topically to serving as a potent painkiller that is just as effective as ibuprofen.
Incorporating these five spices into your food can boost your digestion along with relieving many other health-related symptoms. In many instances they work better than prescription or over-the-counter medications.