Behind a 21st Century Sephardic Revolution

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By: Rabbi Moshe Rafael Seror

With a myriad of phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, herbs and spices – as we mentioned last month – are more than just a great way to liven up a bland dish. This month, we present a list of more exotic seeds and spices that can enhance both the healthfulness and flavor your daily diet.


Coriander seeds are regarded in many cultures as a healing spice. In parts of Europe, coriander has traditionally been referred to as an “anti-diabetic” plant, and in parts of India, it has long been used for its anti-inflammatory properties.It has also been noted to help reduce cholesterol, prevent gas and alleviate cramps and gout. Coriander seeds contain an unusual array of phytonutrients and are a very good source of dietary fiber, iron, magnesium and manganese.


Dill seed is a very good source of calcium, manganese and iron. The total volatile oil portion of dill has also been studied for its ability to prevent bacterial overgrowth. In this respect, dill shares the stage with garlic, which has also been shown to have bacteria-regulating properties.


A popular spice in Indian, Middle Eastern and Mexican cooking, cumin seeds are a very good source of iron. They have traditionally been used to benefit the digestive system, and current research has shown that cumin may stimulate the secretion of pancreatic enzymes, compounds necessary for proper digestion and nutrient assimilation.


Turmeric is a powerful remedy that has long been used in traditional medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat a wide variety of conditions, including flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, and colic, to name just a few. Turmeric is a very potent antioxidant and an excellent source of both iron and manganese, in addition to supplying vitamin B6, dietary fiber and potassium.


Cinnamon’s unique healing abilities come from the essential oils found in its bark, the composition of which make it an “anti-microbial” food. It has been noted for its ability to help stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi, including the commonly problematic yeast candida. Cinnamon will also help keep your arteries healthy, manage blood sugar levels, and lower cholesterol.

So next time you’re searching for a good recipe, try some Indian, Middle Eastern or Mediterranean dishes that are full of tasty spices for your health and wellbeing!