Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is known as an anti-inflammatory agent, helping to relieve allergy symptoms as well as arthritis (or any condition caused by excess inflammation). It is also a powerful anti-oxidant, that can protect the body from damage by toxins and free radicals. Curcumin also protects platelets in the blood, improving circulation and protecting the heart.
As such, turmeric has been known to:
be a valuable digestive aid
helps those with arthritis
improve cardiovasular (heart) conditions
protect the body from bacterial infections (such as wounds)
fight skin and breast cancers in animal studies.
To add more turmeric to your diet, try to eat curry (the kind that includes turmeric, like yellow curries) at least once a week
Though foreign to most of us in the West, this relative of ginger has many of the same health benefits, most notably its ability to aid with digestion.
Galangal is now grown in most Southeast-Asian countries, but was first harvested for use in cooking and medicine in China and Java. By the Middle Ages, galangal was already in common use throughout Europe. Referred to as “the spice of life” by St. Hildegard of Bingen, galangal was, in fact, one of her favorite remedies. This famous herbalist used galangal to treat everything from deafness and heart disease to indigestion.
Today, galangal is used extensively in Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, and is often thought to be even more beneficial than ginger in some ways.
Galangal has been found to:
alleviate abdominal discomfort and pain
assist in digestion
remedy vomiting, seasickness and motion sickness
improve blood circulation in hands and feet
fight inflammation, thereby treating arthritis
treat ulcers and inflammation of the stomach
even cure the hiccups!
Note: If you can't find fresh galangal, fresh ginger makes a good substitute, and also provides many of the same health benefits.
This fragrant lemony herb is used extensively in Thai cooking. It has also been used since ancient times in Chinese medicine for the following conditions:
flus and colds, which may be why Tom Yum Soup is so good at relieving cold & flu symptoms
abdominal pain and other stomach conditions
In Thai cooking, coriander is used in two ways: in its seed form, and as a fresh herb. In the West, coriander is also known as "cilantro" or "Chinese parsley". While fresh coriander has nutritional value, coriander seed has been used since ancient times by healers in Greece, Rome, the UK, China, and India for the following complaints:
gastrointestinal trouble (including gas and bloating)
bacterial and fungal infections
loss of appetite
CHILIES (fresh or dried, whole, minced or powdered)
Recent human studies show that eating chillies helps you sleep better, keeps your heart healthy, and help maintain consistent insulin and glucose levels. Of all the chilies studied thus far, it seems cayenne pepper is one of the most powerful in terms of health benefits.
In recent years, coconut milk has somehow been given a bad reputation when, in fact, it is extremely healthy. Yes, coconut milk and oil contain fat - but this is good, not bad fat. Contrary to what you might believe, coconut milk:
lowers bad cholesterol (LDL), while promoting good cholesterol
modulates metabolic functions
provides valuable fatty acids which most people in the West are lacking