Promote gut health with these four powerful spices
A healthy gut is key to your well-being. According to ancient medical systems, all health outcomes begin in the gut.
This may seem like an oversimplification, but many studies suggest that there is some truth to the belief that gut health is crucial for your overall health.
If you want to achieve optimal gut health, eat nutritious foods and incorporate gut health-boosting spices like fennel and turmeric into your regular diet.
Cloves are a spice with potent, powerful anti-inflammatory effects, thanks to the beneficial compound eugenol.
Cloves contain fiber, vitamins and minerals. Using whole or ground cloves to give various dishes and beverages a flavor boost can also increase your intake of essential important nutrients.
One teaspoon (two grams) of ground cloves contains six calories, one gram of carbs and one gram of fiber. The same serving also contains 55 percent of the Daily Value (DV) of manganese and two percent of the DV for vitamin K.
According to studies, manganese is an essential mineral for maintaining brain function and building strong bones.
Cloves are also a great source of antioxidants. These compounds help reduce oxidative stress, which is linked to the development of chronic disease.
The eugenol in cloves acts as a natural antioxidant. According to a test-tube study, eugenol curbed oxidative damage caused by free radicals five times more effective than vitamin E, another powerful antioxidant.
Cumin can help digestive enzyme production and bile secretion, which helps the body better digest fatty foods.
Most recipes using lentils also add cumin to help boost their digestibility.
Cumin is rich in vitamins and minerals like:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin B6
Some studies suggest that cumin can help stimulate the production of pancreatic enzymes and help digestion.
Research also evaluated the antioxidant content of cumin and results showed that it was more effective than other common antioxidants, such as vitamin C. Data also suggests that cumin can potentially be used to protect against cancer.
Fennel seeds are powerhouses that can help improve digestion by supporting digestive enzyme production. It is also believed that fennel can help cool the digestive tract.
Fennel stimulates the production of gastric juices. It also has carminative properties, meaning it can help relieve flatulence or gas.
Additionally, fennel is used as an after-dinner digestive aid. It also has antispasmodic properties.
If you are looking for a spice full of dietary fiber, use fennel seeds. It also contains metabolically inert, insoluble fiber that increases the bulk of the food you eat as it goes through your digestive system. Insoluble fiber helps ease constipation and protects the colon.
Fennel also contains various antioxidants like quercetin, which can help protect against aging and diseases such as cancer.
If you suffer from gut issues, steep some fennel seeds in warm water and drink it as a soothing herbal tea to help support your gut health.
Turmeric is a popular spice because it has impressive anti-inflammatory properties that can help support healthy inflammatory pathways in the gut. The spice can also help support the gut lining.
When using turmeric, add a bit of black pepper to help boost the bioavailability of the curcumin in turmeric.
Gut health-boosting recipes
These recipes include the spices mentioned above and other superfoods that can promote gut health.
This recipe can help soothe digestion and includes quinoa and lentils.
Ingredients for four servings:
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup of your preferred vegetables
- 1/2 cup split red lentils
- A handful of spinach
- Juice of half a lime
- 4 sprigs of fresh cilantro
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 inch Ceylon cinnamon stick
- 2 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 black peppercorns
- Salt and pepper
- A large pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
- Rinse and soak the quinoa and lentils for one to three hours.
- Heat the avocado oil in a pot on medium-high heat. Add the cumin and fennel seeds and let them sizzle for about one minute.
- Add the turmeric to the avocado oil and saute for about 30 seconds until it blooms and becomes fragrant.
- Next, add the vegetables, salt and pepper and saute for one minute.
- Add the drained quinoa and lentils, cloves, peppercorns, bay leaves and cinnamon to the vegetables.
- Add enough water to cover the rest of the ingredients (about 3 cups) and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook the khichdi with the lid on for 15 to 20 minutes until the quinoa is translucent and the lentils are cooked through.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add spinach to the pot and stir until well combined.
- Place the lid back on the pot. Let it sit for several minutes until the spinach is lightly cooked.
- Ladle into serving bowls and top with a pinch of cumin, coriander and cayenne (if using).
- Add a squeeze of lime and fresh cilantro before serving.
Slow-cooker Sichuan chicken with scallions and baby bok choy
This dish is made with spices, juicy slow-cooked chicken and nutritious baby bok choy.
Ingredients for six servings:
- 2 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, trimmed
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 1/3 cup Shaoxing rice wine (You can also substitute dry sherry.)
- 3 dried red chiles, stemmed
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1?1/2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
- 1?1/2 teaspoons grated garlic
- 1?1/2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns, divided
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 4 scallions, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 whole star anise
- Crushed red pepper to taste
Ingredients for sesame baby bok choy:
- 6 heads baby bok choy (You will need about 1 pound.)
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Combine the chicken, soy sauce (or tamari), Shaoxing (or sherry), chiles, garlic, ginger, cumin seeds and sugar in a four- to seven-quart slow cooker.
- Tie up the star anise, cinnamon sticks and one teaspoon of Sichuan peppercorns in cheesecloth or a muslin spice bag and add it to the slow cooker. Add water and cover, then cook on Low for eight hours or High for four hours.
- Prepare the bok choy. About 15 minutes before serving, trim the bok choy and separate the leaves.
- Get a large saucepan and place a steamer basket inside. Pour one inch of water into the saucepan and bring it to a boil. Add the trimmed bok choy. Steam until just tender, for about eight to 10 minutes.
- Top the bok choy with sesame oil, sesame seeds and salt.
- Remove and discard the spice bag from the pot with the chicken.
- Use a slotted spoon to remove the chicken and discard the skin and bones.
- Pour the broth into a fat separator or skim the fat, if preferred. Stir in the remaining half teaspoon of Sichuan peppercorns and let the broth stand for five minutes.
- Divide the chicken and broth into six serving bowls.
- Top with scallions and crushed red pepper, then serve with the bok choy.
For full references please use source link below.