April 15, 2016 · Written by Foodtolive Team
The Many Types of Spices to Diversify Your Vegan Diet
Many people seem to believe that a vegan diet tastes rather bland as there is only so much you can do with veggies and cereals. However, you shouldn’t forget that there are many types of spices, which can add a unique flavor to any dish. These particular products are not only delicious but also very good for your health. You definitely should include them in your diet, even if you have yet to go completely vegan.
Types of Spices Every Vegan Should Have
When you start stocking up your vegan pantry, you should take your time studying the spices available on the market. There are a great number of them, and the vast majority of people don’t realize how many different flavors they can create by combining the most common herbs and seeds. Today we offer you a short overview of the spices that will help you turn any vegan meal into a delicious feast.
Basil: Use It Fresh for Vitamins
Basil is the #1 herb that every vegan should have in their kitchen. A great number of dishes will taste better with it, from pizzas to stews, to sauces. However, the biggest natural advantage of this plant is not the exquisite flavor it adds to your food. Basil is rich in potent antioxidants and vitamins. The herb contains large amounts of vitamins A and C that effectively reduce free radical damage. The anti-bacterial properties of basil are so potent that it’s included in many natural remedies for colds and the flu.
To get the most benefits this plant has to offer, you should eat it fresh. It goes extremely well with salads, but you can sprinkle it onto many other dishes. If you prefer dried types of spices, you can find basil in any grocery shop that offers them as it’s very popular.
Anise Seeds: Soak in Hot Water to Improve Digestion
The benefits of anise seeds are too numerous to count, and their aroma is absolutely amazing. You can add them to a variety of dishes and use the seeds to make some effective natural remedies. One of the best effects of this spice is its ability to improve digestion and soothe the pain of cramps.
To relieve these symptoms, you’ll need to soak the seeds in hot water and drink the liquid after it cools. This is an effective alternative to over-the-counter medications, which have a similar effect.
Anise seeds are rich in B vitamins and essential minerals. Therefore, any dish cooked with them will help you meet your daily requirement of these nutrients. However, it’s the unique taste that really makes this spice stand out. It goes exceptionally well in marinades.
Mustard Seeds: Grind into Powder for Fighting Inflammation
Among the many types of spices, mustard seeds stand out due to their exceptional health benefits. They have been used for many centuries and by many cultures. Mustard-based remedies fight infection and inflammation. Even some of the pharmaceutical treatments for respiratory diseases contain some derivatives of these seeds.
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You can grind them into powder and make delicious mustard that will appeal to those who love their food ‘hot’. It’s an outstanding seasoning that goes very well with many dishes. The seeds are rich in selenium and zinc, which makes them an invaluable addition to your diet. If you don’t like the taste of mustard paste, you can add whole seeds to marinades. They add a unique flavor and are mildly spicy.
In any form, mustard seeds will speed up your blood flow, improve circulation, and strengthen your immunity. It will be wise to increase their intake during the cold season to reduce the risks to your health.
Coriander: Eat Either Dried or Fresh to Reduce Cholesterol
Coriander, in any form, has the ability to increase the levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and decrease the ‘bad’. When the herb is in season, you should add fresh cilantro to your salads and sandwiches daily. It’s less efficient when dried, but coriander seeds are very good for digestion and packed with essential nutrients.
Peppercorns: Add to Any Dish as a Digestive Aid
Black peppers, also called peppercorns, are one of the most popular spices in the world. The seeds were used in many national cuisines for centuries, and today they have spread internationally. This spice is added to soups, stews, seasonings, and a variety of other dishes. There are even some desserts that contain peppercorns, and they complement the flavor of dark chocolate exceptionally well.
All in all, this is a must have type of spice, and it definitely should be present in your pantry. Black peppers can make any dish more delicious by ‘highlighting’ tastes of different ingredients. In addition, they help your digestion and provide you with a small boost of essential minerals (manganese and iron in particular).
Dill Seeds: Sprinkle on Dishes to Strengthen Your Bonesdill seeds in your recipes, as they will make even the simplest of dishes taste amazing.
However, the biggest benefit of dill is its ability to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. The herb itself is a good source of potent antioxidants, but the seeds are more important for your health. They contain large amounts of calcium and manganese, two essential bone-strengthening minerals.
How to Benefit from Vegan Spices
There are many other types of spices that will help you diversify your diet. However, you need to use them correctly in order to get the health benefits they offer. Unfortunately, you can’t get the extraordinary nutritional boost these foods might offer because consuming them in large amounts can be dangerous.
They can be used only as complementary sources of some essential nutrients. Their addition will be good for you, but it won’t make much difference if your diet isn’t well-balanced. Therefore, if you really want to get all the good that herbs and seeds have to offer, you need to review your vegan meal plan as a whole. Make sure that you meet your daily requirements of all vitamins and minerals, and spices will add the extra boost you need to improve your general health.
The best thing about seeds and herbs is that there are so many of them that you will never get bored of the same flavors. You can experiment for years and find new combinations of tastes that will enhance your favorite dishes. Look up some exotic recipes and you’ll see that the majority of them contain rather plain ingredients; it’s the spices that make them special.
You can use the same principle to turn any dish you make into a culinary masterpiece that will impress your friends and family. Don’t be afraid to try new shocking combinations of flavors until you find your personal favorites.
Remember that seeds often have a bitterness to them, so you need to be careful of how many you add to the dish. You can ‘offset’ this unpleasant taste by dry-toasting them before using. This will enhance both the aroma and the flavor of the spice and, by extension, your meal.
Stock up your pantry with spices and you’ll never have to worry about the ‘plain’ taste of your vegan diet. Be sure to store them in airtight containers away from the heat and sunlight. This way, dry spices can last for months, so you can buy them in bulk.