Eating well is too often associated with eating blandly. However, there’s a whole world of healthy seasoning options that are waiting to transform your everyday meals into delicious delicacies. It could be as simple as salt or discovering an entire culture’s spice palate.
Make your food taste more exciting while still staying healthy with these seven seasonings.
Salt (aka sodium chloride) is one of the world’s oldest known commodities. Over time, salt has become one of the most common seasonings found globally.
Though many nutritionists praise the benefits of a low sodium diet, the human body cannot function without some level of salt. It improves the taste of almost everything and poses no health risk in moderation. You’re more likely to lose years of your life from the stress of worrying about unhealthy food than from enjoying a little salt with your food.
Smoked salt is a great way to infuse your dishes with complex aromas, like mesquite and hickory. If you’re interested in learning about more variations like African, Himalayan pink, and black lava, read more at saltsup
2. Ground Peppercorn
In many households, you’ll find a bottle of ground black peppercorn right next to the salt. Not to be confused with the vegetable family of peppers, the peppercorn is an unripened berry from a flowering vine found in tropical climates. High in antioxidants and indicated to have anti-inflammatory properties, black peppercorn serves as one of the most versatile spices in the culinary realm.
However, if you’re interested in a peppercorn with similar health benefits but more explosive properties, seek out the Szechuan peppercorn husks. A derivative of the Chinese ash tree rather than the vine that produces black peppercorn, this spice produces a unique “tingly” sensation on the tongue. Note that while black pepper allergies are rare, some people are allergic to Szechuan peppercorns – handle with care on your first try!
Szechuan peppercorn husks hold a visceral power over the palette, and it remains the favored seasoning for bold chefs looking to pack a punch on the plate.
Due to its high cost, cardamom has historically enjoyed a popular profile in upper-class cuisines. With the advent of online retail and the increasing ease of transcontinental shipping, the presence of the pod-based spice has expanded into kitchens across the globe.
This is a positive development because cardamom is known to have many health benefits. Studies show that it has the potential to help prevent obesity and inflammation.
In western markets, white cardamom is the dominant form of spice. However, this is a bleached, less flavorful form of the green cardamom form common in India. Chefs sometimes opt for white cardamom for aesthetic purposes. Look for its green variant if you want to experience the complete minty, herbal flavor profile Cardamom offers. It goes well with stew, curry, and pilaf recipes.
Garlic is a popular ingredient in cultures around the world. It’s considered to provide many health benefits, including:
- Boosting the immune system
- Improving cholesterol levels
- Providing a high level of nutrition compared to very few calories
It’s also prized in most cuisines for its delicious taste. Garlic and ginger paste is a staple of many Indian dishes, while spaghetti with garlic and olive oil is one of the most basic Italian pasta meals. It can be crushed, sliced, roasted whole, or pureed to enhance everything from hearty stews to simple salads.
If you’re looking to find new ways to incorporate garlic into your regular rotation of meals, consider trying black garlic. This fermented form of garlic provides a tangy, sweet twist on the hallmark flavor. It’s an ideal pairing for roasted chicken and also works well in pasta dishes.
Ginger is considered garlic’s “sister” vegetable in some cuisines. It has a rich, warm flavor and offers a little heat. Ginger is also incredibly good for you.
Ginger has been used as an aid to digestion for centuries. It contains the compound gingerol, which can also help alleviate nausea and boost the immune system. It’s been suggested that ginger can also help you lose weight.
It may also help reduce the risk of heart disease – this is another reason why including more garlic and ginger in your cooking is a great idea. It’s best purchased as root ginger rather than as a powdered spice. Even better, you can grow it fresh in your garden or indoors – the fresher the root, the more potent the flavor and health benefits.
Turmeric is another spice that can be bought as a powder or as a root. It’s very healthy and adds a deep, earthy flavor to curries and stews. Turmeric can help improve heart health and may help to prevent long-term memory loss and diseases like Alzheimer’s.
A word of caution when using turmeric – it stains things! From your chopping board to your Tupperware, expect everything to take on a slightly orange color when you’ve been cooking with turmeric. This is especially true if you’ve been cooking with oil.
7. Citrus Fruit
Lemons and limes are healthy, affordable seasonings that add great flavor to your recipes. You can squeeze juice over fish, meat, or rice at the last minute to lift the entire dish or include their juice and zest in cakes.
Citrus fruit is rich in vitamin C, which is an essential part of a balanced diet. They’re also very good for your heart. You can use citrus juice in anything – even water can be made tastier with ice and a wedge of lime!
Variety Is the Spice of Life
Maintaining a nutritious and exciting diet is a difficult task, but exploring new twists through healthy seasonings can lead to rewarding discoveries. Whether you start with black garlic in your next dish of pasta carbonara or jump right for the crackle of Szechuan peppercorn in your chili, the benefits of expanding your culinary arsenal cannot be overstated.
We guarantee you won’t regret taking an adventurous turn with your entrees and trying these bonus ingredients!