It’s no surprise that we all need a little boost in the winter months. The wind howls, the temperatures drop, and the lack of sunlight can’t be a little… depressing. Believe it or not, spices can hold the key to many health benefits that we can all take advantage of in the winter. Today, were focusing in on our beloved Madras Curry Powder.
This intense blend of coriander, turmeric, fennel, salt, cumin, fenugreek, caraway, and chili is complex, mesmerizing, and delicious. Curries – as a stewed dish, have been made in India for centuries. But the potent spice blend that we’ve come to know as Curry Powder has a much younger origin. The mixture is a commercially prepared mixture of spices first marketed in the west in the 18th Century. The blends were exported to Britain, by Indian merchants. It was a mixture similar to garam masala. Curry Powder itself actually has a very interesting and even controversial history. Contrary to popular belief, curry powder is not a staple ingredient in the Indian kitchen. This exotic spice was first invented for the British in the 19th century and while not as hot as some Indian spice blends, Madras Curry is considerably hotter than most western-style curry blends. The confusion likely stems from a popular Indian dish known as “curry”, which is made up of a spiced sauce alongside vegetables or meat, but almost never contains curry powder itself.
Each ingredient that make up Madras Curry has its own magical healing powers. Coriander is rich in immune boosting antioxidants and may help lower blood sugar. It may benefit heart and brain health and it can even help fight infections. Amazing stuff! The health benefits of turmeric may be the most well-known and prolific of them all. Several compounds in turmeric may help to ease depression and help antidepressants work better. The curcumin in turmeric can help fight inflammation and keep blood sugar levels steady. That same curcumin may also help you fight off viral infections. Some studies have even shown that turmeric can help lower LDL levels of cholesterol. Incredible! Fennel is up next, and it’s no sleeper. Fennel is packed with powerful essential oils and loads of nutrients. It’s a fantastic source of vitamin C, a water soluble vitamin critical for immune health, tissue repair, and collagen synthesis. Fennel seeds may help suppress your appetite, leading to less consumption, bloating, and weight gain. Moving on to fenugreek – an herb long used in alternative medicine. One tablespoon of fenugreek can contain up to 20% of the recommended daily intake for Iron. Who needs beef? Fenugreek has been proven to increase breast milk production in mothers. On the flip side, the spice has been shown to increase testosterone levels in men. Caraway is loaded with fiber and several important minerals including iron, magnesium, copper, and calcium. These minerals have been found to reduce inflammation, encourage healthy digestion, and even promote weight loss. And last, but certainly not least – chili! Chili powder can improve heart health and help with nasal congestion. It can also improve eye health and build immunity to fight certain diseases. What an incredible bunch of spices!
It’s easy to see what make our Madras Curry such a potent healer. Not only does it taste incredible, but you have the added benefit of improving your health why you enjoy a delicious meal. Does it get any better than that? This winter, choose a spice blend that not only taste’s great, but makes you feel good too. Cheers to good health, and Madras Curry!