Herbs & Spices for Gut Health

My Fall 5-Day Detox happened last week.  The recipes some have cooked up incorporate foods with some herbs & spices that were new to people.  One of the ideas for this detox was to add new foods to your diet that crowded out the not so good while being patient and allowing your palate to change.  All this helps reduce the cravings for the simple carbs, sweet, and bad fat foods that mess with your brain and allows you to savor the delicious tastes that nutritious foods seasoned with spices and herbs brings.

You’ve heard it before, “Stop eating white flour.”  “Cut out the sugar.” “Reduce your caffeine and alcohol.”  “Don’t eat gluten.” But what are you supposed to eat?  Why nutrient-dense foods, of course, that taste really good when wonderful spices and herbs are added.  As a result, your gut health, and digestion improve and the food you cook taste better.  I’m really hoping to encourage you to add more spices and herbs into your diet on a regular basis.

Here are some helpful bits of information about herbs and spices before I share some details about two spices this week.

Herbs are from the leafy, green parts of a plant.  Spices come from other parts of a plant like the seeds, stem, root, bulb or bark. When you cook with fresh herbs it’s best to add them during the end of cooking.  Dried herbs and spices are usually added during cooking so their flavor is absorbed into the food.  You can always add more at the end of cooking too if you need a little more flavor. 

The point of this article is to let you know that there are some great herbs and spices out there that support your gut health, gut microbiome and gut flora.  As a result, your flora then releases antioxidants and other good stuff! 

1. Turmeric 

> Turmeric has long been known to be a powerful anti-inflammatory spice that improves the health of your gut and liver. 

> It’s a digestive bitter meaning it helps break down food and improves nutrient absorption.

> Turmeric also helps your gallbladder secrete bile and moves it along to the intestines which helps stop the formation of gallstones.

> Bile is what is needed to break down fats so fats are absorbed which helps improve regular bowel movements.

> Turmeric is also antimicrobial.

Curcumins

>  Curcumins are the main substances in turmeric. 

> They contain anti-inflammatory properties. 

> Because curcumins are not very bioavailable, it’s best to consume turmeric root. 

> Curcumins restores the gut lining. 

> They protect the liver. 

> They help digestive conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome  (IBS). 

Uses of Turmeric

> Turmeric can be used in foods and beverages 

 > It is fat soluble, so its absorption is increased when eaten with a healthy fat like coconut oil or ghee.

> Eating turmeric with black pepper increases its absorption as well. 

> Turmeric can be added to curries, stir-fries, and sauces.

> Sprinkle it on eggs, fish, veggies, chicken and other meats.

> You can juice turmeric root or grate the root to make a tea.

>Read this article on Golden Milk
to find its benefits.

2. Ginger 

> Ginger is related to turmeric so they share similar properties. (they are both in the same family of plants.)

> Ginger aids in digestion. 

> It helps breakdown sweet root vegetables like sweet potatoes, yams, and winter squash.

> It reduces mucus from foods, like dairy. 

> Ginger helps you feel more full, increases your metabolism and so it protects against obesity. 

> It’s used as a tea. 

> Ginger candy helps prevent nausea. 

> It helps reduce gas and constipation. 

> It influences the secretion of hormones in the GI tract.  Many hormones reside in the gut.

> This strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant spice can exert protective effects along the GI tract. 

> Ginger has been shown to improve the health of the gut lining by decreasing inflammation. 

> It can be drunk as a shot or brewed in tea, grated and cooked in curries and stir-fries, and used in marinades for chicken and salmon. 

I’ll share more benefits of herbs and spices with you next week so until then, get in the kitchen and have some fun cooking!

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