Garam masala is one of the most famous spices blend in India. It has several therapeutic benefits and is usually made using a whole bunch of ingredients.
When we talk about India, one thing that came in mind is its cultural diversity. A country full of traditions, culture, heritage, food, spirituality and what not.
India has contributed the world so many things and the most widely appreciated contribution is probably the cultivation and use of spices.
One of the most popular spice blends in India is called garam masala.
It’s an amazing mix that can make even the flattest or blandest of meals interesting.
However, there’s more to it than just taste.
This article “Garam Masala – Taste and Health Together” will cover everything from what is garam masala, how it increases taste and benefits of garam masala in detail.
So let’s start.
What is Garam Masala?
It is said that garam masala originated in Northern India where the winters are cold.
Garam masala, is a mix of ground, usually dry-roasted spices native to India. Garam is actually a hindi word for “warm” or “hot,” which is right since garam masala is known for creating a warmth both internally and externally.
What is masala? Masala is a Hindi word for “spice.” It is a mix of various spices and a vital part of Indian cuisine. Not only in India but this warm spice mix is also very common in other South Asian Cuisines.
However there is not a common proportion of spices in garam masala preparation. There is variation in proportion depending upon regions, weather, taste, culture and individual taste. It is a combination of various spices and may sometime contain more than 30 ingredients.
Garam masala can be prepared by dry roasting the spices and then grinding them into a powder. It can also be made without dry roasting. When ground, the garam masala spices are slightly heated until they release their aroma and then they’re ground together into a powder to be used generally as a finishing spice. When used whole, these spices are called khada masala. This can added to hot oil to release their flavors before other ingredients of recipe are added.
What Spices Comprises Garam Masala?
Although a traditional recipe usually contains cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, black pepper, cloves, nutmeg, coriander, fennel and bay leaves. The spices that are used are mixed in proper proportion and blended for an aromatic flavour, which is warm in nature and a bit sweet but without any sugar.
The main composition of garam masala vary a bit across regions however, the most common blends are:
- Black pepper is a very good source of essential vitamins and minerals that helps in relief from respiratory ailments.
- Cardamom is one of the most vital ingredient in the spice blend, which possess potent antioxidant properties and acts as a digestive stimulant.
- Cinnamon is an essential spice with a sweet and woody flavour, it greatly helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Cloves is one of the strong spices with a bitter and astringent flavour, that is well-known to boost liver health and strengthens bones.
- Coriander is an essential spice in the Indian cuisine that adds extra flavour. It remarkably reduces blood sugar spikes and cholesterol levels.
- Cumin is rich in iron and beneficial plant compounds helps to fight inflammation and promotes weight loss.
- Nutmeg is highly valued for its aromatic and curative properties. It is helpful in treating digestive and nervous disorders.Health Benefits of Garam Masala
Health Benefits Of Garam Masala
The traditional idea that garam masala increases ‘digestive fire’ is actually true.
Cumin, one of the major ingredient of the mix, boost the activity of digestive enzymes.
One study proved that an extract of the spice could be used to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Black pepper, another component, has also been found to have beneficial effects and aids digestion.
Above all, one study found that eating food with garam masala was associated with faster digestion time in healthy adults.
So if you’re having trouble processing your food, try spicing it up!
Rich in Antioxidants
Each of the spices in garam masala contain powerful antioxidants by themselves.
When you belnd them together, though, you get a whole new level of potency.
While all of the ingredients contribute, there are a few that stand out like cinnamon.
In a Chinese study from 2005, 26 different spices were analyzed to see which contained the most antioxidant activity. And out of them cinnamon was at the top and clove was also in the list.
Improves Heart Health and Regulates
Cardamom has strong position when it comes to regulating blood pressure levels and improving overall heart health.
Also, coriander has been known to lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
If we can use food and natural supplements to greatly reduce our risk, we should do so.
Garam masala is both affordable and extremely low in calories, so it makes it a genuine source of heart-healthy compounds that can be used as a part in our daily food.
The bodily inflammation has increasingly become an issue in the new age world.
Off late, chronic inflammation has been strongly linked to many age-related diseases.
Sure, the sources of inflammation can often be difficult to eliminate completely.
Still, we can surely diminish the symptoms by having a healthy lifestyle and diet.
Cardamom a component in garam masala has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body.
Lowers Cancer Risk
Cancer is steadily climbing up the ranks when it comes to the world’s top killers.
In developed countries, it’s frequently listed in the top 5.
According to studies, most cancers can be prevented by following right lifestyle.
One of the most important factors is our daily nutrition.
To your surprise, the ingredients of garam masala are all beneficial when it comes to cancer prevention.
Particularly cloves, have been shown to promote normal cell function, stop tumour growth, and even help control the early stages of lung cancer.
Fights Oral Bacteria
Nutmeg have a compound called macelignan that can kill many types of bacteria responsible for tooth decay.
Cloves are also helpful when it comes to oral health and protects against gum diseases like gingivitis.
Also, cardamom, which has also properties to fight against microorganisms that cause dental caries.
Helps in Nutrient Absorption
Black pepper has a compound called piperine, that gives the spice its pungent taste.
When added to a meal, it can significantly boost the absorption of minerals and vitamins.
Defends Against Diabetes
Diabetes is another major disease that’s prevailing in the modern world.
Like cancer, diabetes is most often the outcome of lifestyle factors.
Research has found that a multitude of spices can be protective against diabetes.
Cinnamon is the most effective of them all.
In particular, the spice has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity.
Nutmeg has also shown some positive signs in this area.
Protects Your Nerve System
Garam masala could be useful when it comes to preventing Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases.
As mentioned, all of the commonly-used spices in garam masala are high in antioxidants.
This is important, because natural antioxidants have been found to be protective against neurodegenerative disorders.
The piperine in black pepper has also shown promising results in regards to this issue.
Taste with Garam Masala
It’s mentioned in Ayurveda that garam masala brings six different types of tastes when added to the curry. These are a taste of cinnamon, fennel, peppercorn, coriander, cumin and cardamom. The taste of pepper is warm, cardamom is sweet while the taste of cinnamon is warm and sweet.
Even if you were not knowing about all these, you knew that garam masala brings taste to curries. So every Indian kitchen definitely have garam masala.
Garam Masala adds tastes to many food preparations and has many culinary uses, that includes:
- It is commonly used as a base spice for preparing curries.
- Sometimes it is also used to garnish white rice or fresh fruit salad.
Garam masala comes with so many powerful ingredients that offer a ton of healing health benefits along with the taste.
I guess after reading “Garam Masala – Taste and Health Together”, you must have known how beneficial Garam masala is.
Garam masala is a fiery spice that adds flavor and brings incredible therapeutic benefits. The essential nutrients in garam masala helps in promoting digestion, boost metabolism, triggers immunity, and lowers the risk of chronic diseases and healthy teeth.
Enjoy the wellness incentives of this flavorful spice blend by adding in dishes or simply sip on a warm cup of garam masala chai.
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