A family holiday in Marrakesh with great friends. It is august. Hot weather. Spicey food. Moroccan patterns. Colours.
Spending time in lovely Villa Targa is a true pleasure, suburb food and in a very relaxing and cool atmosphere (even it is 35 degrees Celsius). Just what we need after an intense year. This is my second time in this villa, but with my developed interest for this blog and nutritional studies, this is my mecca. I am sucking up every piece of food- knowledge Majid (our host) shares keenly with us.
So what is the gist of Moroccan cooking? The Spices of course. Ginger, turmeric, Cumin, Coriander, Saffron, cinnamon- my absolute favourite spices! I must be in heaven. They taste rich and amazing, we all know that. But what kind of nutritional benefits do they offer?
- Coriander: is a good digestive herb and has antimicrobial properties and has a cholesterol lowering effect
- Ginger is anti-inflammatory and assist in repairing body tissues (i.e joint issues in arthritis). It is used as a tool to improve circulation, used to enhance febrility-circulation issues in men and women.Ginger is also useful to reduce nausea, symptoms of cold and flue.
- Turmeric is traditionally used for liver and gallbladder disorders, however it is considered a wonder herb by many modern herbalists and functional medicine practitioners. Research shows that it stimulates cortisol receptor causing it to reduce inflammation in the body. It is also a strong antioxidant.
- Cumin has a high content of iron and manganese. It is used as an digestive aid as it stimulates digestives enzymes. Several research also suggested it is an antioxidant, potential effectual in cancer fighting (liver and stomach). Other studies indicates it is helpful in balancing blood sugar.
- Saffron is used to treat depression, PMS, and also used to improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. More inconclusive research claims that it has effect on insomnia, asthma, cough and and long list of other issues.
- Cinnamon is great to use to balance blood sugar. Other common usage is for bacterial or fungal infections, colds, appetite loss, and erectile dysfunction. Cinnamon is often used as a natural food preservative as it has anti-microbal properties.
In addition to the spices, the Moroccan diet consist of loads of fibre from wholegrain and vegetables and fruit (think: tagine). Fibre is good for keeping you regular, but also assist in controlling blood sugar and cholesterol levels (LDL) . The reason is that the fibre binds to the cholesterol in the intestines. We all need about 25-40 g of fibre everyday. British Nutritional Foundations recommend a minimum of 18 grams. That is a lot, when a portion of breakfast cereal/bran is about 8 grams per portion,