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Immunity-Boosting Herbs and Spices

Immunity-Boosting Herbs and Spices

The best defense against a cold or cough may be hidden in your spice rack and not the medicine cabinet! In addition to their food-flavoring properties, herbs and spices have long been used for their medicinal properties.

Click here to see Immunity-Boosting Herbs and Spices (Slideshow)

Along with lots of rest and a big glass of orange juice, food may be a great way to fight off whatever illnesses your immune system is currently battling. Herbs and spices that you’re already using to season your food may actually help fight illnesses.

Historically, herbs and spices like turmeric and ginger have been used not just for flavor but also for their anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties (respectively), and modern medicine backs up much of what ancient theory suggested.

Supplement cold-fighting chicken soup with other natural immune-boosters like lemon (vitamin C), ginger, and garlic. Although most of the world agrees that chicken soup is one of the best ways to cure a cold, there are other, more adventurous cold remedies from around the world that you may want to try, like lizard soup or a hot mustard footbath.

But if you’re content with more common natural remedies like herbs and spices, herbal teas and many foods, like oats and yogurt, that also have immune boosting properties and may prevent or shorten the lifespan of everything from flu symptoms to sore throats.

Herbs and spices can help you get back on your feet when you’re battling a cold or sore throat, and they have an added bonus of making your food taste great.

With winter at its peak, it’s time to boost your immune system naturally with these tasty herbs and spices.

Remember, though, that even if you are using natural remedies to fight an illness, you should always consult with a doctor for medical treatment, and be aware that some spices may interact with medicine.

Black pepper is a natural anti-inflammatory and helps maintain a healthy colon. But those susceptible to kidney stones should not over-do black pepper,as it is high in oxalate, which can create stones.

Cayenne pepper is a powerful antiseptic. The next time you have a sore throat, mix some cayenne pepper into warm water with a bit of lemon juice to kill off those nasty virus germs. Click here for our best cayenne recipes.

Julie Ruggirello is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @TDMRecipeEditor.

DIY – How to Make HelloFresh Spice Blends at Home

I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve just recently tried HelloFresh for the first time. I’m not quite sure what took Sarah and me so long to pull the trigger and give them a shot. Perhaps it was a little bit of arrogance, knowing we both could shop for our own groceries and come up with a recipe on our own. Whatever the case may be, we are so happy we finally tried them. Their meal kits have freshened up our love of cooking by giving us new recipes and ingredients we never thought of using before.

Guide to Spices

Cinnamon is a staple of baked goods like apple pies and oatmeal cookies. But it's also used in savory dishes, like Indian curries and Moroccan chicken, and it's a favorite for spicing up hot drinks like Mexican hot chocolate and mulled wine. As sticks, cinnamon can keep for two to three years, but ground cinnamon needs to be used more quickly. When buying ground cinnamon, look for the palest powders – they have the most flavor.

Vanilla is one of the most expensive spices, due to the exhaustive process of cultivating and curing the long thin pods. Vanilla beans are the fruit of a specific orchid, and the pods are cured for three to six months, drying in the sun and sweating in blankets, until they are shrunken, brown and fermented. Seventy-five percent of the world's vanilla comes from Madagascar. To use the beans, slit down the middle and scrape the seeds into foods. Vanilla extract is made by chopping vanilla beans and macerating with alcohol, so the flavor is drawn out. Don't be tempted into buying the much cheaper imitation vanilla – it's usually pure artificial flavoring with a chemical-like taste.

Black pepper is a fundamental spice that is used around the world to season almost every savory dish. It grows in grape-like clusters on a pepper plant, the fruit dried to produce the familiar spice.

Peppercorns can be black, green or white, but the most common is the strongest flavored black peppercorn. Black pepper is usually added at the end of cooking to season a dish, but when added in larger amounts it has a bold flavor without too much heat. Green and white peppercorns are milder flavored. Resist the urge to buy a large container of pre-ground pepper – once ground it loses flavor quickly and is best used within four months.

Paprika, commonly used as a garnish and to spice up foods, is a powder made by finely grinding different types of red pepper pods. Color and flavor vary from mild to hot and orange to red. Hungarian paprika is considered the best quality, and the spice is a staple of traditional Hungarian dishes. Pimenton, a type of Spanish paprika made from smoked peppers, has a distinctive rich flavor. Keep a couple types of paprika on hand to pump up the color and flavor of savory dishes.

A touch of spicy cayenne can add a lot of heat to a dish without radically changing the flavor. It is a mixture of ground, dried chili peppers and can be used with a wide variety of cuisines, particularly Italian and Mexican. Since it's always sold in the powdered form, it shouldn't be stored for longer than six months.

Dried red chili peppers, sold either ground or in flakes, works well either added early to dishes that are going to cook for a while or simply shaken on near the very end. Because they can vary greatly in terms of heat, taste your red pepper to see just how hot it is — and make sure to replace it every six months.

Cumin is mainly used in Middle Eastern, Asian and Mediterranean cuisines, and a common ingredient in curries and chili powders. The toasted seeds can be used whole in dishes or ground right before use. Pre-ground cumin loses its potency quickly, but can be resuscitated by a quick toasting in a dry skillet over medium-low heat.

10 Herbs And Spices That Boost Immunity

This article will cover the 10 most common herbs and spices that help boost our immune system. The good news is, you may already be using some of these in your cooking. And the ones that you are not currently using are easy to incorporate into your recipes.

What is the Immune System and how does it work?

Our immune system is a network of cells and proteins that defends the body against infections caused by invaders such as bacteria and viruses.

When such an invader enters the body, it triggers what is called an immune response. This is actually a reaction by which the immune system produces a variety of different cells to attack and destroy the invaders and get rid of the infection.

Needless to say, we must have a strong immune system. Now, can the herbs and spices we eat in our food give us stronger immunity? Yes, they can!

These are the 10 most common herbs and spices we can include in our cooking to give us stronger immunity:

Number 1: Garlic

The main active ingredient in garlic is Allicin, which is formed when whole garlic is crushed or finely chopped. Allicin contains Sulfur, which quickly converts to other compounds.

These compounds are known to enhance the functioning of the immune system by stimulating certain cell types in the body. Sounds complicated? Well, you don’t need to worry about the details. Just include garlic in your diet and stay healthy!

One reminder, though, you must crush or finely chop garlic and leave it there for a couple of minutes for the Sulfur compounds to form.

Number 2: Ginger

Ginger tea is a popular remedy for seasonal infections such as cough, cold, and flu. It really works. Ginger is antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-parasitic.

Gingerol, a phenolic compound found in fresh ginger, is a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties and helps to protect the body from infections.

In addition to boosting immunity, ginger promotes health in other ways too. For example, it helps relieve tension headaches, relaxes throat muscles, and calms hyperactivity.

Just remember to use fresh ginger and avoid highly processed ginger powders and drinks.

Number 3: Turmeric

Turmeric adds a nice color to curry dishes, but it also gives many health benefits. It is antiviral, anti-fungal, and antibacterial.

Curcumin, a compound found in turmeric, has anti-inflammatory properties that help strengthen our immune system. Traditionally, turmeric is consumed with a glass of milk, warm water, or tea. It helps fight flu or cold, is prebiotic, and promotes the growth of healthy gut bacteria.

Raw turmeric is more beneficial than the standardized turmeric powder that we buy to add color to our food. However, the absorption of curcumin from turmeric can be enhanced 20 times by combining it with black pepper.

This is made possible by a compound called “piperine” that is present in black pepper.

Number 4: Black Pepper

Black pepper is enriched with vitamin C, which naturally enhances immunity and works as an antibiotic.

The active compounds in black pepper help increase the number of white blood cells, which the body uses to fight off bacteria and viruses.

In addition, it plays a role in the bioavailability of nutrients. When you add it to your diet, it increases the absorption of nutrients from other immunity-boosting foods you eat. Well, there you go. You have a solid reason to include black pepper in every meal.

Number 5: Cinnamon

Cinnamon has powerful polyphenol antioxidants, which have anti-inflammatory effects, thus lowering the risk of disease.

Two types of cinnamon are available in the market, Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia Cinnamon. The Ceylon or Sri Lankan variety is more expensive and is considered safer to consume.

The safety concern arises from a potentially harmful compound called coumarin, found in high concentrations in Cassia cinnamon. Whereas Ceylon cinnamon only has it in trace amounts.

Since you can’t be sure of the quality and origin of this spice, it is better to consume cinnamon in moderate amounts only.

Number 6: Cloves

Cloves add flavor to our food, but they also contain some nutrients such as Manganese and vitamin K.

Cloves are also rich in antioxidants. The antioxidant properties of cloves are due to a compound called eugenol, which stops the damage caused by free radicals, giving a boost to the immune system.

Whole cloves can be used to spice a curry or a rice preparation. In addition, ground cloves can be used in a spice mix such as garam masala.

Number 7: Nigella Seeds

Nigella seeds, which are also known as black cumin or kalonji, have been used for many centuries as a natural remedy for many diseases and ailments.

These seeds contain several compounds, such as thymoquinone, carvacrol, t-anethole, and terpineol, that give them powerful antioxidant properties. In addition, some studies found that Nigella seeds may have antibacterial properties, and their oil may have anti-inflammatory properties.

Nigella seeds can be used in everyday cooking, particularly in potato-based recipes, to add extra flavor. However, since more research is needed to establish the health benefits of Nigella seeds, these must be used in moderation for the time being.

Number 8: Green Cardamom

Vitamins, phytonutrients, and essential oils in green cardamom act as antioxidants, strengthening the immune system. In addition, extracts from green cardamom have been found to exhibit antimicrobial properties. The seeds, oils, and extracts of green cardamom have been used in Ayurveda for centuries.

Due to the rich aroma and sweet flavor, green cardamom is used in many curry and rice recipes, desserts, and beverages such as tea. We can easily add cardamom seeds to our everyday cooking and benefit from their health-giving properties.

Number 9: Coriander

Both the leaves and seeds of coriander (also known as cilantro) are used in cooking in many parts of the world. Coriander has several compounds, such as terpinene, quercetin, and tocopherols, which may have antioxidant and anticancer effects.

Antioxidants in coriander seed extract have been found to lower inflammation in the body. Coriander and its oil also contain antimicrobial compounds that may help fight foodborne infections and illnesses.

In Ayurveda, coriander is used to treat fever, indigestion, excessive thirst, and breathing disorders.

Number 10: Cumin Seeds

Cumin seeds have long been used not only in food but also in traditional medicine. These seeds contain compounds such as terpenes, phenols, flavonoids, and alkaloids. Some of these compounds function as antioxidants protecting the body from free radicals and boosting our immune system.

The applications of cumin seeds in Ayurveda include digestive, heart, and kidney ailments.

You can use cumin seeds and cumin powder in homemade curries and snacks.

Now time for a Bonus tip

When buying spices such as coriander seeds and cumin, buy whole spices and grind them at home when you need them. It is better than buying spice powders that may have been ground several months ago.

And a word of caution

Please do not try to self-treat any known illness with the help of the herbs and spices that are mentioned in this article. Instead, please consult a qualified healthcare professional.

Use any herb or spice in moderation and only to flavor your food. Remember, excess of anything is bad.

Watch A Video

You may like to watch this official TofuChops Youtube video on 10 Herbs And Spices That Boost Immunity

3. Turmeric

This vibrant orange root, also a rhizome and closely related to ginger, is thought to have originated in South Asia, and has been used for medicinal purposes in India for more than 4,000 years. It is an integral part of Ayurveda, an ancient Indian system of medicine whose name translates to “science of life.” It is considered to be a sacred spice in Ayurveda and has been used to heal wounds, release mucus, repel insects, ease inflammation, and many other purposes. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric that gives it its characteristic orange-yellow color, may help fight off infections and improve the overall health of your body’s cells. For recipe ideas, check out this Turmeric Farro with Roasted Vegetables, perfect for a spring dinner, or whip up a batch of savory Almond Butter Turmeric Dressing, ideal for drizzling over a salad or even some cooked grains. Whether dried, fresh, or in a supplement, turmeric is an excellent immune-booster to add to your kitchen.

  • 4 tablespoons dried parsley
  • 3 tablespoons dried basil
  • 3 tablespoons oregano
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon celery seed
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

Combine parsley, basil, oregano, onion powder, salt, sugar, celery seed and black pepper in a small bowl. Stir well to recombine after storing.

Make Ahead Tip: Store airtight for up to 3 months.

To make a creamy dip with the spice mix: Combine 2 Tbsp. dry mix with 3/4 cup reduced-fat plain Greek yogurt and 1/4 cup sour cream (or mayonnaise) and 2 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil. Cover and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Makes: about 1 cup dip for 8 servings (2 Tbsp. each, about 60 calories)

To make a vinaigrette with the spice mix: Combine 2 Tbsp. dry mix with 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, 1/3 cup red-wine, white-wine or cider vinegar and 2 Tbsp. water in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake until well combined. Refrigerate for up to 5 days. Makes: about 1 cup dressing for 8 servings (2 Tbsp. each, about 130 calories)

4. Cloves (丁香 dīngxiāng)


Cloves make their way into Chinese medical formulas such as this.

Cloves are also commonly used in Chinese cooking. Many or most foreign visitors may have never used this spice either, but it is more commonly found in Western kitchens than star anise.

It is one of the standard ingredients in five-spice seasoning that is generally composed of black pepper or peppercorn, star anise, fennel seeds, cloves, cinnamon, and salt.

  • Pronunciation: /ding-sshyang/
  • Usage: You could apply it to food as part of the five-spice powder to season poultry, braise meat dishes, and make soups for a delicious Chinese flavor.

Health Benefits and Warnings/Side Effects

Health benefits: Cloves offer some health benefits. Cloves aid in digestion, boost the immune system, control diabetes, fight cancer, and might have anti-mutagenic and anti-microbial properties. It might help heal or fight against oral diseases, and it has aphrodisiac properties. It is an anti-inflammatory.

Warnings/side effects: There seems to be little danger in using the herb in the amounts used in cooking. Be aware though that it prevents blood from clotting. People taking anticoagulant/anti-platelet drugs such as aspirin and warfarin should beware.

To get the most out of your spices, there are three utensils you should have in your kitchen:

Because of the many herbs and spices used on a daily basis, there's no one herb or spice that defines Greek cooking, however, there are a list of herbs and spices, both native to Greece and imported that are found most often in recipes for Greek food. The lists include the English name of each herb or spice, the Greek alliteration (Greek word in English letters), pronunciation guide, and the Greek name.

Foods, Spices and Herbs that Boost Your Immune System Fast

One of the best things you can do for your overall health is to boost your immune system. Having a strong immune system helps your body literally fight off infection, diseases and helps you recover faster.

While there are many products on the market, there are a few natural ways that can boost and strengthen your immune system in a shorter amount of time. Here are a few:

1. Elderberry

Elderberry is known as &ldquonature&rsquos flu shot&rdquo and is packed with antioxidants and vitamins that boost your
immune system, fight inflammation, and relieve nasal congestion. A study in Norway concluded that elderberry extract offers an efficient, safe, and cost-effective treatment for influenza.

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Ginger enhances immunity, breaks down toxins in the body due to it&rsquos warming effect, helps cleanse the lymphatic system, and loosens mucus. Enjoy ginger tea as an energizing alternative to your daily coffee.

Turmeric is known as a natural antibiotic and is one of the richest sources of antioxidants. It is antiviral, antifungal, and fights inflammation.

Flaxseeds are loaded with fibre. They are also known as a popular source of vegan protein. Flaxseeds are also helpful in managing different chronic conditions, let's find out how.

Weight loss: The fitness trainer shared video of HIIT routine that can help you burn fat.

The brightly yellow-colored spice can boost your metabolism and speed up your weight loss process. Turmeric is warm and increases body heat. This way it boosts your body metabolism, thereby fostering weight loss process. In addition to this, it keeps your hormones in check during your time of the month. Try sprinkling turmeric on soup or fresh vegetables and nuts.

Turmeric for weight loss
Photo Credit: iStock

This flavorful spice is also known for its weight loss benefits. It curbs sweet cravings, keeps you full for longer, thereby reducing your calorie intake. Sprinkle some ground cinnamon on oatmeal, milk, yogurt, tea or cottage cheese.

Cinnamon for weight loss
Photo Credit: iStock

Cayenne peppers are a warm spice which can boost your body metabolism. It works by raising your body temperature. Adding this spice to your food can effectively burn 100 calories per meal. However, you must not eat too much of it. So if you are a spicy-food lover, this one will surely be your favorite!

Cayenne for weight loss
Photo Credit: iStock

Cumin is another weight-loss friendly spice. One teaspoon of cumin in your food is good enough to burn three times more fat. Besides this, cumin water is known as one of the most powerful drinks for weight loss. Cumin is the best way to add a distinct flavor to your food and cut some extra pounds from your body weight. You can use it as it is in your dishes or roast it and use it in the powdered form.

Cumin for weight loss
Photo Credit: iStock

Ginger has metabolism-boosting properties like turmeric and cayenne. It basically prevents your blood sugar levels from increasing after a sugary and high-carb meal. Grate some ginger and add it to your food for a distinct flavor and metabolic boost for your body.​

Ginger for weight loss
Photo Credit: iStock

6. Black pepper

Black pepper is blessed with a wide variety of weight-loss benefits. It is that spice which prevents the formation of new fat. This way it prevents fat from accumulating in the first place. It is that spice which you can add to everything you eat, and this also includes the sweet treats.

Black pepper for weight loss
Photo Credit: iStock

It is another thermogenic which boosts your body heat and metabolism. Cardamom is the beloved spice of Indian cuisine. From biriyanis to kheer, you can add cardamom to any dish and it will give your food an additional boost of flavor.

Cardamom for weight loss
Photo Credit: iStock

8. Fenugreek

Fenugreek is an essential spice for your body. There is a wide variety of ways by which it can benefit your overall health. It soothes and protects your digestive tract from free-radical damage. This way it also boosts your body metabolism. For this, you can soak some fenugreek seeds in water and let it rest overnight. Then strain and drink it on an empty stomach every morning. This will surely boost your body metabolism and speed up weight loss.

Fenugreek for weight loss
Photo Credit: iStock

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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KFC 11 Herbs And Spices: What Colonel Sanders' Nephew Revealed About Secret Recipe

KFC's secret recipe of 11 herbs and spices had been closely guarded by Colonel Sanders and his family for decades, but his nephew once spilled the beans on what makes his "original" fried chicken so delicious.

Numerous protective measures are usually taken by the fast food giant, including using two different suppliers to prepare the 11 herbs and spices, so that no single entity can crack the code. This mystery contributed to the fried chicken's fame.

Back in 2016, however, Harland "Colonel" Sanders' nephew, Joe Ledington, revealed to Chicago Tribune the secret recipe that had been passed down in a family scrapbook.

Inside the scrapbook he showed the outlet is a handwritten note that said, "11 Spices — Mix With 2 Cups White Fl," along with a list of 11 herbs and spices and their measurements.

According to the recipe, one would need to combine 2 cups of white flour with celery salt, dried mustard, white pepper, garlic salt, paprika, ground ginger, basil, salt, thyme, oregano and black pepper to make the "original" KFC chicken.

The mix requires 4 tablespoons of paprika and 1 tablespoon each of celery salt, dried mustard, white pepper, garlic salt, ground ginger and black pepper. Only 1/2 tablespoon is needed for both basil and thyme, while 1/3 tablespoon each of salt and oregano is required.

Ledington, however, made it clear that the writing isn't his uncle's. He said he isn't sure who exactly wrote down the recipe but guaranteed that the list is authentic because he remembers helping to blend the same herbs and spices on the flat concrete roof of his uncle's garage as a boy.

"I mixed them over the top of the garage for years," he recalled, noting that the job came with the fringe benefit of getting to use the swimming pool at Sanders' motel-restaurant complex — a nice perk during the hot summer months.

"The big thing we did was mix it with flour and bag it up and sell it to restaurants," Ledington added. "Actually, my job was cutting up chickens and bagging up the chicken mix. That's what I did as a 10-, 11-, 12-year-old kid."

Based on the recipe, the main ingredients for the coating are paprika, white pepper and garlic salt, but he said white pepper is the real star among the three.

"The main ingredient is white pepper," he explained. "I call that the secret ingredient. Nobody (in the 1950s) knew what white pepper was. Nobody knew how to use it."

Aside from serving delicious fried chicken, KFC has also ventured into making movies. The fast food giant recently teamed up with Lifetime for the holiday mini-movie, "A Recipe for Seduction," which stars Mario Lopez as Colonel Sanders, according to a press release.

The 15-minute romance flick, which tells the story of a saucy chef with the hots for his evil, albeit well-to-do boss' daughter, premieres on Lifetime Sunday at 12 p.m. EST/PT.

Mario Lopez plays Colonel Harland Sanders in the KFC film "A Recipe for Seduction." Photo: KFC

Several Twitter users have already expressed their excitement over KFC's short film: