5 spices for summer, against the heat and beyond – Italian Cuisine

coriandolo e finocchietto

In the heat there are spices in the kitchen that there are friends instead, as they help keep the harmful effects of the summer heat at bay. Conosciamole.

Perhaps the best known to all is the mint, a herb we all know for its refreshing notes. In southern Mediterranean cuisine, from Cyprus to Morocco, it is in fact very popular and omnipresent: we can use it, fresh or dry, in many recipes instead, or together with basil, for example. The refreshing property is one of the many of this plant that assists the digestive process and helps to disperse excess heat thanks to the activation and opening of the skin pores. Its main active ingredient is menthol, which according to an Italian research a couple of years ago, is also a powerful one fat burning. Nothing better to combat the heat than a hot tea with mint, as the Maghreb teaches.

The fennel seeds, used in cooking and in herbal medicine since ancient times, they are a boon for those suffering from digestive and intestinal disorders. They also calm the inflammation generated by the heat and, like mint, they are excellent for freshening breath. Finally, always in view of the summer, they are perfect for the flat stomach: excellent carminative functions. A herbal tea a day takes the swelling away. Not only that: soak the seeds overnight. In the morning add a pinch of sugar, black salt, lemon to the water: it is an excellent summer energizer!

It is very refreshing for the liver, and cleanses the skin: turmeric with a thousand properties it helps us even in summer. It helps to feel lighter and is a friend of the line, because it activates digestion. Like all spices, to take advantage of its health benefits, as well as taste, avoid prolonged cooking. In addition to the powder, used above all when we want to try our hand at oriental recipes, or give a touch of yellow to our dishes, not to be missed is the rhizome, to also prepare fantastic refreshing drinks: mix it perhaps with a little lemon or lime, and a sprinkle of white pepper.

Cardamom, with such a pleasant aroma, it is one soothing and refreshing spice. Combats acid in the mouth and stomach, inhibiting gastric reflux. For its beneficial properties on the intestines and stomach, the ideal is to drink a warm infusion after meals. While chewing the green capsule fruits, it is a safe remedy for halitosis. In the kitchen it is used a lot in oriental recipes, but in pastry it is also very popular in the Nordic countries.

Usually, either you love it, or you hate it: it is coriander, that herb that looks like parsley but whose flavor doesn't look like it at all. Turns off the "fire" in our body caused by heat. Its fresh leaves are very rich in nutrients, and like cardamam the appetite rather tends to stimulate it, but the weight does not increase, on the contrary: cardamom helps metabolism and digestion. Its fruits are also consumed, similar to peppercorns. Coriander + water it is a very healthy combination: in herbal tea, for digestion; in grains, added to the foot bath to combat swelling of the feet and ankles; in the bath, in the form of essential oil, to refresh the whole body.

According to the Indian tradition of Ayurvedic medicinea, our body is governed by three types of "doshas", or energies: the heat intensifies that call "Pitta", which governs metabolism and digestion, and the excess of which can lead to inflammation and other ailments. The know of the spices we talked about helps balance these energies.

While food and especially drinks very cold, not to mention those iced, they do the opposite effect when cooling down – the thermal shock inside the body is so strong that it reacts by producing more heat to compensate – these spices beat the heat by hitting it from the inside.

Carola Traverso Saibante
Photo: Flickr / jacqueline

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