Culinary Herbs and Spices Dancers Should Eat
Herbs and spices have been used as natural remedies for thousands of years. In addition to flavoring foods, they provide bioactive compounds that support health and recovery. They are versatile and more affordable than supplements, and, unlike capsules and pills, you can easily adapt quantities to meet your individual needs. Add these herbs and spices to your meals for a nutritional boost.
Black pepper is so common that it’s easy to dismiss its powerful properties beyond seasoning your food. Traditionally, it’s been used to enhance digestion and relieve bloating. Black pepper may also increase the amount of nutrients you get from foods; in particular, it dramatically increases the absorption of curcumin, a plant compound known to reduce inflammation. In addition, recent studies show the phytochemical piperine found in black pepper may help reduce pain.
Use it: Add generously when cooking, and add to cold foods like salads or hard-boiled eggs.
• For optimal results, buy whole peppercorns and grind them just before use.
Curcumin is a bioactive component of turmeric that reduces both chronic and acute inflammation. Research also shows that it significantly decreases pain: It’s comparable to medications like ibuprofen in relieving pain and stiffness.
Use it: Fresh or dried turmeric can be used in curries and stews, on roasted vegetables, blended into smoothies or in “golden milk” lattes.
• Fats like oils, butter and coconut help your body to absorb curcumin.
• Pair with black pepper to optimize results.
The leaves and stems of both flat-leaf and curly parsley are edible. Parsley is rich in folate, vitamin K1 and the antioxidant vitamins A
and C. The herb also stimulates digestion.
Use it: Parsley can be enjoyed raw, cooked or dried, in salads, sauces, soups or grains.
• Keep parsley fresh by trimming the ends and placing the bunch in a jar with an inch of water.
• Smell your parsley to find the best bunch. The more pungent the plant, the more potent it will be.
Used in both sweet and savory foods, ginger is effective in treating nausea and menstrual pain, and can also offer arthritis relief.
Use it:Ginger can be eaten fresh, or dried and ground into a powder. Grate fresh ginger into stir-fries or smoothies. Or make a tea by slicing one inch of ginger root and steeping it in hot water.
• The flavor mellows with cooking, so you may want to add more of it to cooked dishes, and less to cold drinks.