Get Spicy!

If you want to spice up some of your family's dishes, look no further than seasonings from India. Renowned for their ability to add flavour to lacklustre recipes, the country's most commonly used spices can also do our bodies a world of good. Here's a list of the top spices to try.
Garlic and onions

Garlic & onions

You probably use these root veggies quite a bit in your cooking, but they're added to almost every dish in India. They're also incredibly good for you. Researchers recently found that diallyl disulphide, a compound found in garlic, onions and leeks, helps protect against osteoarthritis. Other studies have shown garlic can prevent all kinds of conditions, such as cancer and heart disease; onions may reduce bacterial infections.


This is a serious spice -- quite strong when eaten in too large of a dose --but it's absolutely worth adding to any recipe. An antiseptic, it has been used for centuries to fight colds, indigestion, joint pain, bowel problems and nausea. It also can relieve motion sickness. Current studies are investigating whether the spice can ward off inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. It's a common ingredient in curry dishes.


One of the many flavors in traditional curry dishes, this yellowish spice has been shown, in recent studies, to protect the liver from wear and tear. It may also stave off cancer and illnesses (such as colds and the flu). Researchers are currently investigating whether the spice also can ward off Alzheimer's disease and asthma.


Of the three kinds of cardamom -- black, green and white -- traditional Indian cooking uses only black and green. Because this spice is a touch on the sweet side, it's used to add flavour to meat and dessert dishes.

Cardamom has many medicinal properties due, in part, to the antioxidant cineole. It's used primarily as a liver detoxifier, immune system strengthener and nerve relaxer.



An essential component of curry powders, clove is used to add flavour to rice dishes and sauces. According to lore, it also can freshen breath. In terms of medicinal properties, it's a potent antioxidant and can be used to relieve everything from muscles aches and pains to toothaches, sore throats and stomach cancer.
Fennel seeds

Fennel Seeds

Known as saunf in India, this seed has an aromatic, sweet, menthol flavour and is used in a variety of dishes. Very similar to cumin, it contains a number of important antioxidants, which -- studies have shown -- may ward off colon cancer. Fennel seeds also nourish the skin, detoxify the body and help control bloating and flatulence.

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