June 23, 2017

Cool For The Summer Spices – 6 top spices that help you to keep cool!

Post by Admin

When you hear the word spices, the first thing that comes to your mind is ‘hot’! Something that makes you sweat! Did you know that sweat, in actuality is beneficial to lower your body temperature. This is why tropical countries like Africa and India use spices to regulate body temperature. So there you see, specific spices will help to keep you cool for the summer.

The Ayurvedic way to deal with heat

Ayurveda, the study of ancient Indian medicine recommends using few spices that aids in keeping you cool for the summer. Its a common human behaviour to reach out for icy drinks and lollies to cool down. Study suggests that consuming cold drinks and ice creams only lower the internal body temperature momentarily. As the icy shock is so sudden, the body temperature tends to rise to compensate for the drop in gut temperature. Therefore the initial cooling effect is replaced by the heat generated to digest calorie – rich food. This variation in the body’s internal and external temperature is what makes us more susceptible to cold and flu’s.

Summer season is also known as ‘Pitta’ or the fire season as per Ayurveda. ‘Pitta’ – rules the metabolism particularly our digestive system. When the pitta or heat is too high, it can lead to inflammation, sun stroke, rash, acne, heartburn, and sweating.  It is very easy to maintain a balanced pitta and keep our metabolism in check by way of what we consume during hot summer day. Including spices in your daily diet plan can play a very large part in this.

Cool for the summer spices list

Below is a list of common herbs and spices that you could introduce to any cuisine or dish and not just Indian. Though I share few ideas, I suggest to get experimental and creative and use them in your everyday food or drinks

1.Fennel:

Fennel bulb and seeds

In the Indian subcontinent fennel seeds are used as a mouth freshener especially after a meal or as a spice to add to dishes. It is also available in fresh bulb form in many countries. Fennel has digestive properties and helps to break down food particles to aid digestion.

How to use it 

Fresh Fennel Bulb – The stem of fresh fennel bulb can be used to make broths, stews and soups. The bulbs can be sliced and used for making stir fries, added to soups or salads.

Fennel Seeds – Brew fennel seeds in hot water and make fennel tea. Powder fennel seeds and use as seasoning.

2. Mint:

Most swear by a refreshing mint-lemon drink on a hot summer day! Mint is a sure shot, cool for the summer spice or herb that has cooling and cleansing properties. Apart from bringing the body temperature down it also helps relieve health problems such as cramps, hiccups, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

How to use it 

Mint is a versatile herb that can be used in various kind of meals such as fish, meat, salads and drinks. Add a sprig of fresh mint to tea, make it into a chutney , sauce or marinades.

3.Coriander/Cilantro:

Coriander

Belonging to the herb family, fresh coriander is a powerhouse of vitamin C and has many antioxidant properties. Coriander or cilantro is commonly used in many cuisines and ideally eaten raw added to salsas, salads or drinks or as a garnish for curries.

How to use it 

Coriander leaves can be used to make fresh salsas with cucumber, tomatoes. Use finely chopped coriander leaves in marinades for meat, fish. You can also make coriander chutney, sauce or dips.

 4. Turmeric 

Turmeric - 5 essential Indian spice

This is a magic spice which gives Indian dishes the customary yellow colour. Turmeric is packed with anti – inflammatory properties and aids in many health disorders such as stomach upset, cold and flu’s.

How to use it 

Add a teaspoon of turmeric to any dish you cook, especially stews, curries or marinades. Adding a teaspoon to a cup of warm milk with honey helps to ward of cold and throat infections.

5. Cumin Seeds  

CUmin Seeds- 5 essential Indian spice

Cumin seeds is the tiny savoury spice that helps to detoxify the body and absorb excessive stomach gas and bloating. Cumin seeds are available in seed and powder form what can be added to grain dishes like rice, pulses and wheat to help keep the body cool.

 How to use it 

Add a teaspoon of whole, crushed or powdered cumin seeds in vegetable stir-fries, curries, soups, and lentils or also as an ingredient for marinades.

The flavour of cumin seeds become more enhanced if dry roasted without any oil and freshly crushed into powder. This can be added to drinks and goes especially well with yogurt, shakes, and lemon based drinks.

6. Cardamon 

cardamon spice

Little green pearls, used in both sweet and savoury dishes. It’s a versatile spice which has both warming and cooling properties, thus balances and regulates body temperature. It counteracts excessive stomach acid and cures cramps and pains.

How to use it 

Use whole cardamon to add flavour to stocks and gravies. You can also powder cardamom seeds and add to drinks such as yogurt based shakes, tea, milk product based desserts and also as a marinade ingredient.