The spicy goodness of Nepali cuisine is what makes it stand out from the rest. While the spices not only adds flavor in the food, it also bestows health benefits upon us. The following list describes some of the special herb and spices used in Nepali cooking and their hidden advantages. Most spices are available in Indian, East Asian, and Middle Eastern grocery stores or some health food stores and larger supermarkets. Here are a few of the commonly used spices in our Nepali homes, and their benefits.
The basis of most Nepali cooking, turmeric (besar) contains a compound called Circumin. Science is just catching up to the wonderful health benefits of Circumin. It’s regarded as a healing medicinal herb. It’s been proven to fight cancer and brain degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
Scientific research has shown that cumin (jeera) can stimulate the production of pancreatic enzymes and help digestion. Studies have also found that cumin was protective against memory loss and the damaging effects of stress on the body. Cumin is also very high in antioxidants, and a good source of vitamins and minerals, such as iron and manganese.
Coriander (dhaniya) seeds also help in digestion of food. These seeds have anti-bacterial properties, protecting us from food-borne diseases. It helps detoxify our body, and is a good source of iron as well. Research has shown that these seeds help stabilize blood sugar levels, helps prevent colon cancer and protects our nervous system from damage.
Cinnamon (dalchini) is yet another spice that boosts brain function and mental alertness. Cinnamon is excellent for reducing triglycerides, and to maintain a stable blood sugar level. If you are ever in a bad mood, according to Dr Bryan Raudenbush, Associate Professor of Psychology and the Director of Undergraduate Research at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, all that you need to do is smell some cinnamon.
This red hot chili (khorsani) spice is often used as a natural fat burner and painkiller with anti-inflammatory properties. Cayenne is actually used to heal and prevent ulcers, improves circulation, boosts the immune system and also aids in digestion.