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Healthy and Thai: The health benefits of eating Thai Herbs and Spices

Thai cuisine stands out for its vibrant colours, zesty flavours and aromatic spices. But beyond their status in world cuisine, Thai herbs and spices offer a treasure trove of health benefits, making them essential ingredients not just for creating delicious dishes, but also for promoting overall well-being and good health.

 

Here are some remarkable Thai Herbs and Spices that are flavourful treasures to have in your kitchen.


 

Pineapple Som Tam with tamarind, palm sugar, peanuts at Fireback.

Turmeric

A staple in Thai cooking, turmeric is a perennial plant of the ginger family. Extensively used in curries, stir-fries, soups, snacks and even desserts, its delicate flavour and beautiful colour make it a much-loved ingredient in Thai cuisine. Along with its culinary uses, turmeric has been sought after as a medicinal plant. Containing curcumin, a powerful compound with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, the use of turmeric has been linked to reducing the risk of chronic diseases, including heart disease and cancer, and promoting overall well-being. It is also regarded as an internal antiseptic and used to treat skin diseases.


 

Coconut & Galangal soup at Fireback.

Galangal

Belonging to the ginger family, galangal is also known as Thai ginger but is distinct from its cousin. Ginger has a hot and spicy flavour, while galangal has a cooling, refreshing aroma. Galangal is usually pounded into many of the Thai curry pastes, and mixed in a stir-fry. Prized for its digestive benefits, it aids in digestion, alleviates nausea, and can even soothe sore throats and coughs. Known to have anti-fungal properties, the herb has been used in treating skin fungal conditions. Add galangal to your dishes to enhance flavor and to promote overall wellness.


 

Basil cocktail at Fireback with Thai Basil, Custard Apple, Citrus, Blue Pea Flower.

Thai Basil

Prized for its distinct aromatic crispness, Thai basil is a staple in Thai cuisine used to flavour dishes like Tom Yum soup, Green Curry, Thai Basil Stir-fry, and others. It adds zest and nutritional value to salads, marinades, and dressings. However, not many people know that this culinary herb is a powerhouse of nutrients. While traditional uses of the herb include the treatment of snakebites and colds, Basil also contains macronutrients, such as calcium and vitamin K, and a range of antioxidants. Rich in essential oils, it also contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties which promotes cardiovascular health, aids digestion, and boosts immunity.


 

Grilled Chicken, pomegranate, toasted coconut, lemongrass at Fireback.

Lemongrass

With its lemony flavor and refreshing aroma, lemongrass is used as a natural remedy for digestive issues, bloating, and inflammation. Rich in essential oils and compounds that aid digestion, incorporating lemongrass into your diet can support digestive health and enhance overall gut function. Studies have also linked the aroma of lemongrass to a quick reduction in anxiety and tension as well. Aside from its uses in Thai curries, lemongrass is a popular ingredient in a variety of teas, making it a healthy beverage option.


 

At Fireback, the Red Curry includes soft-shell crab, ginger, lime leaves.

Kaffir Lime

Punchy with a distinctive taste, Kaffir Lime is used extensively in Thai cuisine. A great source of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium, Kaffir Lime is known to boost the immune system. The leaves and rind of kaffir lime are rich in essential oils that boast antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties as well. Incorporating kaffir lime into your diet can help combat infections, support immune function, and promote overall wellness.


 

It’s evident that Thai herbs and spices are not just culinary staples but they're nature's gift to our well-being. By incorporating Thai herbs and spices into your diet, you can enjoy delicious flavours while nourishing your body from the inside out. So, the next time you’re reaching for these ingredients to add to your Thai food, you’re doing a lot more than just adding flavour to your dish!

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