In modern cooking, spices play an important role. After all, the correct selection of these substances helps to greatly enhance the taste of the product, with a minimum of effort and cost. So no wonder the place of spices in the daily kitchen.

Spice can be considered any vegetable raw material, which can change the taste of food. It can be not only dry or fresh herbs, but also roots, bark, seeds, dried fruit. Each ingredient has its own characteristics, so the question of the best spice to put simply does not make sense. The one that works best on the taste ends of a particular person and can be considered the best.

Spices have a long history, once they were brought from overseas countries and they cost fortunes. People have always been interested in these unusual flavors, but for a long time they were used with caution.

That is why many myths and misconceptions about such tempting and enigmatic spices were born. Some of these statements are time to refute, and some myths have a right to exist. Today, the properties of spices are thoroughly studied both by cooking and by science.


Spices were originally used to hide the taste and smell of rotting food.

It is believed that during the Middle Ages, the popularity of spices was associated with their ability to hide the scents of spoiling food. However, this myth is easy to refute. In those days, the only people who could afford to buy spices were very, very rich people. They simply did not bring bad products to the table. Yes, and spices were too valuable for primitive use in the form of a masking agent. People used condiments very carefully and economically. After all, spices were transported several centuries from afar, from India itself. The pleasure to try them could be afforded by a few and certainly not by those who ate rotten meat.

All spices are sharp.

Actually in the dictionary the word “spicy” means, as having the quality, taste or aroma of spices. In everyday life, we often call spicy foods with peppers spicy, spicy or hot. In fact, not all spices are comparable in their characteristics with pepper. In India, many dishes are prepared without any sharp chili, other spices are used to improve the taste. They can even be sweet. A classic example is cinnamon. It is a classic ingredient for many western sweet dishes, this seasoning comes in coffee. The king of spices, saffron, has a delicate aroma and a spicy taste. It is also appreciated for giving the food a beautiful golden color. And cardamom, cumin or coriander have nothing to do with sharpness.

Spices cause gastric ulcers and poorly affect digestion.

Actually, for the appearance of a stomach ulcer, the bacterium Helicobacter Pulori is responsible. And spices do not interfere with the digestion of food. And turmeric and cumin in general have traditionally been used just to facilitate this important process. Studies conducted at the University of Oregon have shown that turmeric is also an excellent anti-inflammatory drug. This spice is not only that can cure upset stomach, so also has anti-cancer and antioxidant capabilities. These properties of spice have proved experiments on animals. Experiments with rats have shown that caraway seeds protect the liver from highly toxic substances contained, for example, in ethanol and rancid sunflower oil. The main components of turmeric and pepper – curcumin and piperine, have long been called the main preventive means against cancer. It is known that the meat of the grill is saturated with carcinogenic substances, which are formed during cooking under high temperature conditions. And if the meat is properly marinated in such spices as coriander, cumin, turmeric and rosemary, then there will be no harm from it. Cardamom is generally used in medicine for the treatment of heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome, intestinal spasms and other problems associated with digestion.

Spices increase body temperature, so it is better not to consume them in the summer.

Not all spices warm up the body.There are examples of cooling. For example, cumin, coriander and fennel seeds have a soothing and cooling effect. No wonder they are very popular in Indian cuisine in the hot season. Other spices – cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, red and black pepper really have a warming effect. They are best used in the cold season, to improve blood circulation.

Spicy food is oily, it will lead to diabetes and obesity.

Spices not only do not make fatty food, but also help to fight against diseases such as diabetes and obesity. It has been proven that cumin reduces blood glucose levels, making it better than such a popular antidiabetic drug glibenclamide. This spice helps to control oxidative processes. This is very important for diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, sickle cell anemia, heart failure, bipolar disorder. Cumin reduces the level of cholesterol and triglycerides, not allowing the body to lose weight sharply. Purdy University has proved that cayenne pepper increases metabolism and helps burn fat. Chili pepper, as well as less acute varieties, improves the oxidation of fats, enabling the body to reap them in the form of fuel. Cinnamon also reduces the level of glucose, triglycerides and cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes. To improve the food there it is better to add a little spice, than sugar, cream or sauce, which just calories and add.

Food with spices has a bad effect on the heart.

In fact, eating with spices can only improve the work of the heart. You can abandon such harmful oils and sugar, but keep the taste with spices. With a decrease in triglycerides, cholesterol and blood glucose levels, which is due to turmeric, cinnamon, cumin, chili, the risk of heart disease also decreases. In mice it was proved that curcumin reduces fat deposits in blocked arteries. Another study showed that cardamom reduces blood pressure, improves antioxidant status and enhances fibrinolysis. This natural process is responsible for the removal of blood clots. Spices have a lot of useful properties that are still to be studied. Usually, there are no side effects to speak about, if only to use them in reasonable quantities.

Spices – exotic substances and for everyday dishes are not suitable.

There are several classic mistakes in the use of seasonings. One of the rudest is the addition of a smaller number of spices to the dish than is required. Often a person tries to strengthen an inexpressive taste with the help of salt and sugar. But even the most common dish can be made unforgettable with the help of spices.


The burning of peppers improves metabolism.

It really is. And “guilty” of this is capsaicin, a substance that gives the pepper the sharpest taste. If you add at least a tablespoon of chopped chilli in the lunch dishes, you can eat much faster. Metabolism, however, will accelerate by 23% in the opinion of American researchers. By the way, capsaicin is contained only in chili peppers and bitter paprika. But in black pepper-peas it is not. And every day you do not have such sharp dishes. In addition, a gastritis or stomach ulcer such a sharpness is generally contraindicated.

India is a real country of spices.

This is indeed so. It is here that a lot of them are grown, and much is used for food. It will be difficult for an unaccustomed tourist to get used to constant burning in the mouth and in the stomach. They say that even if the restaurant is repeated 10 times “without spices” they will still be put, though less than usual. But there are spices here much cheaper than in Russia. In addition, no one bothers and bargain.

There is a product for each spice.

There is even a list of combinations of spices with a certain meal. The art of cooking food with spices is quite subtle. The truth is born here with the help of experiments.In classic culinary books it is said that rosemary to fish does not fit, but it is perfectly combined with meat. But there is an excellent recipe for baked with this spice carp. And with the meat some gourmets rosemary prefer not to use, except that adding to the marinade. So when choosing spices, you should first think about your personal taste and look for the appropriate combinations. Books and checklists will not help here.

There are no special requirements for storing spices.

In fact, there are fairly clear recommendations for storing spices. They should be stored in a dark and dry place, where there is no temperature difference, preferably in a cool place. Glass jars with a tightly closed lid are best for these purposes. To buy and store spices is better in a general form, and grind better yourself. After all, the aroma quickly evaporates, and in ready-made spices this happens even faster. Grinded spices in general can not be stored for longer than six months. If they are in their entirety, you can hold them for longer. However, it is necessary to focus on the smell. You can take a small amount of spices and sniff them. In the event that the aroma causes suspicion, it is better not to risk and throw away the spice, which has already outlived its.

Burning in the mouth of red pepper can be removed with the help of certain liquids and agents.

The Mythbusters team did this experiment to find that unique remedy that can help when burning in the mouth with spices. It turned out that ordinary water can not help – the burning sensation returns immediately after swallowing the liquid. A little bit of beer helped, but it’s not necessary to talk about the full effect. But the tequila even intensified the burning sensation. There was even a certain insensitivity, which dulled the pain. But this effect was also insignificant. Did not help and toothpaste with petroleum jelly. Wasabi is an ambiguous action, to whom it becomes better from him, and to someone else – even worse. However, the relief is still insignificant. But milk really helps. Burning leaves because of the fat contained in this drink.

Cumin is absolutely harmless.

Do not underestimate the strength of spices. Cumin is strictly forbidden to use with thrombophlebitis, after a heart attack and with coronary heart disease. And in pregnancy, black cumin will increase body temperature, which will stimulate the production of blood. In this position it is not very good. But for a nursing mother oil of black cumin helps to increase the production of milk. Spices can harm sexual life.

For several centuries people know about the properties of spices to arouse a love desire. Perhaps it’s the chemistry that’s to blame, maybe an aroma or something. For example, a cheap carnation in food was added by the ancient Romans and Chinese. In Indian folk medicine, it is believed that a drink made from fennel and milk gives the person who drinks it special sexual possibilities. In the same place vanilla was added to milk, considering such a drink as a kind of sexual tonic.

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