You might have heard several arguments on salt and spices. Some people feel that you should use more salt than spices in cooking, while others think spices is more important in cooking. Before we make this deduction, it is best to understand the composition of salt and spices, how they affect our general health and their impact on food quality.
Salt which is a mineral, is composed mainly of sodium chloride. In natural form, salt is a crystalline mineral or what we call rock salt. Salt makes up about 35% of ocean water and is mined from the ocean. Mined salt is often refined to produce table salt which we use in cooking various foods.
Salt is used as a seasoning to enhance the taste of food. Its presence in foods makes them more palatable and brings out the natural flavours in foods. Salt also serves as a natural preservative in varieties of foods like meat, fish and dairy products. Salt also promotes the development of colours in food and aids in providing uniform texture in different foods.
A spice is a plant substance which is primarily used for colouring, flavouring and preserving food. They can be obtained from the seed, fruit, root or bark of plants or trees. Spices are available in several forms like fresh, whole dried or pre-ground dried, but generally spices are dried. Most people prefer to make spices into powdered form for convenience. Examples of some spices are:
Using little spice can make the basic recipe taste new and interesting.
Despite the nutritional benefit of salt, studies have shown that excessive intake of salt daily increases the risk of hypertension, diabetes or kidney diseases. Home cooked meals offers an opportunity to cut your salt intake because various packaged foods contain a full day’s supply of your daily sodium need in one serving. Therefore, consuming more of packaged food increases your risk of consuming high amount of salts which inadvertently leads to unwanted health complications.
Substituting spices for salts in your cooking recipes gives you a more healthy meal and exposes you to variety of flavours in food. Most people do not add spices to food because they are not familiar with the options and how to use them. Spices are known to fight inflammation and reduce damage to cells in your body. Some spice options that will help boost your health are given below:
Turmeric is best known as a major ingredient in production of curry powder. It has gradually become a super food as a result of its ability to reduce inflammation. An important component of turmeric is a substance called curmin. Curmin has the ability to reduce inflammation in the brain and prevent the onset of depression and Alzheimer’s disease. Because of its inflammatory qualities, curmin is also very effective in reducing pain and swelling in people with arthritis. Curmins also have powerful anti-carcinogenic properties.
Ginger is a tropical plant that has been used for thousands of years to treat stomach upsets, diarrhea, and nausea. You can use ginger as a dry powder or decide to use it fresh. Research has found that ginger is effective in calming pregnancy-related nausea and reducing tummy upset after surgery.
Eating garlic protects your heart from changes that lead to heart diseases. Garlic intake has been linked with keeping blood vessels flexible, especially in women. Also eating garlic may reduce cholesterol and triglycerides. Garlic can be used fresh or used in dried powder form. It can used in preparing a number a savory dishes.
- Chilli pepper
Chilli pepper contain a substance called capsaicin which makes them spicy. Capsaicin reduces the number of pain signals sent to your brain and can provide pain relief. It is effective on pain caused arthritis and diabetes-related nerve damage. Studies have also shown that eating chilli pepper can help with ailments that cause internal pain like ulcer. Capsaicin helps in reducing ulcer by restricting the growth of ulcer-causing bacteria, reducing excess stomach acid and increasing blood flow.
Substitute salts with spices in your food for a better health. Be creative with spices you want to add to your foods, try varieties of spices in food to see what your preferences are.