The average American consumes more than 3 1/2 pounds of spices each year, but nearly half of that is pepper and mustard seed. Mustard seed has been around for about 5,000 years. They contain protective substances called phytonutrients, which inhibit the growth of existing cancer cells as well as help to prevent normal cells from turning into cancer cells.
Other spices have amazing benefits. One of the most exciting is turmeric, an Indian spice that gives a yellow color in curry. Turmeric has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and has been used for centuries. It reduces the actions of several genes that promote inflammation, which is linked to heart disease, colon cancer and Alzheimer's disease. Turmeric also enhances immune function, may reduce your risk of heart attacks, and improves digestion. It's anti-inflammatory effects have been shown to be comparable to those of potent steroids without the significant toxic side effects. Can you imagine that...a spice having as much anti-inflammatory effect as a steroid?? (This information came from The New England Journal of Medicine).
Ginger is another spice that has health benefits recognized for centuries, especially for reducing gastrointestinal issues. It has been shown to be extremely useful in reducing nausea and vomiting...just steep an ounce or two of fresh ginger in a cup of hot water. Ginger contains potent anti-inflammatory substances called gingerols, which help reduce pain and improve function in many people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
The National Cancer Institute has identified sage, oregano, thyme, rosemary, fennel, turmeric, caraway, coriander, cumin and tarragon as having some cancer-preventing activity. They help slow or even prevent tumor growth, as well as help reduce cholesterol levels. Coriander may be particularly useful in combating carcinogens.
Spices such as cinnamon, garlic, sage, and clove inhibit bacterial growth. Paprika and saffron boosts immune function. Chili peppers help block tumor formation. Rosemary has compounds that reduce the severity of asthma attacks. In addition, rosemary has been shown to increase blood flow to the head and brain, improving concentration. This list could go on and on.
- Preheat the broiler. Place the eggplant on a nonstick baking sheet, broil 8 inches from the heat for about 5 minutes. Remove and set aside.
- Place the broth in a large soup pot. Add the onions, garlic, zucchini and peppers. Cook, stirring for about 10 minutes over medium heat.
- Coarsely chop the canned tomatoes and add them to the pot, along with their juice. Add the fresh tomatoes, parsley, basil and the rest of the seasonings. Stir in the eggplant, cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Add the beans, corn, dill and lemon juice, cook for 10 minutes longer.