With the monsoon gone and winter afoot, a host of festivals are waiting in the wings and with them, a plethora of indulgences. Sales of antacid and carminatives see a steady rise, too! However, there are a whole lot of solution right in your kitchen and what’s more, they’re far more delicious than the medicines you would buy across the counter!
Here’s a ready reckoner for digestion-friendly spices along with a few non-medicine-y ideas for using them!
Cumin has been identified as an digestive aid by modern medicine as well as ancient Ayurveda. Cumin helps release bile from the liver, which in turn, helps you digest fats. One way to use cumin is to simply infuse it in your drinking water but that’s an acquired taste; to make it fun, roast and crush it and mix it wit some pink salt. Then, add this spice mix to your salads as a sprinkle.
Cinnamon can provide relief from flatulence. Its anti-inflammatory properties also help cure abdominal cramps. Try making the Suleimani Chai as a Digestif drink for your guests after that rich lunch!
Dried and fresh ginger have been used extensively across continents to cure digestive distress. Apart from being a known remedy for nausea and morning sickness (especially in pregnant women), ginger also relieves gastrointestinal irritation due to the release of phenolic compounds present in the root. To use ginger, try pickling it in lemon juice and honey; use this pickle to make salad dressings or muddle a spoonful of it when making your gin and tonic!
Poor old fennel seeds only see light of day as a digestive after meals or in really tiny quantities when making a complex curry. Fennel seeds are the torchbearers of digestive spices and they must be celebrated for their anti-constipation properties and for the fact that they release gastric juices which in turn, have carminative properties. Add bruised fennel seeds to a lightly sweetened roti or paratha dough for an aromatic variation to everyday breads or sprinkle some ground fennel seeds on yogurt-based raitas to bring out their flavour.
Cardamom is a great and fast-acting remedy for bloating (thanks to its diuretic properties) and gas. This is why several antacids also contain cardamom. If you like your chai, it may be a good idea to add a pod in your mid-day cuppa. Also try adding some bashed green cardamom to your Tadka—they help break down the proteins in daals and meats.