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Thai cuisine is full of flavourful fresh herbs and spices, used to make curries and soups that are light and fresh, as well as richer ones with coconut milk. Based on the freshest ingredients, with little or no dairy, you can see why the Thai people have few problems with obesity and heart problems, despite their love for food and enjoyment of snacks throughout the day. But Thai cuisine is not only healthy because of its freshness and lack of heavy fats: the herbs and spices most used in Thai cuisine themselves all have medicinal qualities that will keep you in good health if you eat them regularly.
The yellow curries of Southern Thailand use turmeric, which is known as an aid to digestion and a detox spice. It has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic qualities too, which help fight colds and sore throats. It also has a role in preventing tumours and cancer, which is still being researched but looks very promising, especially against melanomas and several other types of tumour.
Fresh chilli peppers are high in vitamins C and A, fulfilling an antioxidant role and aiding digestion. They help fight colds and act as a decongestant – nothing like a bit of spicy curry to unblock the sinuses!
Garlic is a natural antibiotic and excellent against colds and infections, boosting the immune system and also helping deal with high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Lemongrass is good to treat colds, fever, congestion and aids digestion, soothes intestinal infections and helps you deal with stress.
Kaffir lime is used in Thai medicine to treat high blood pressure. It also stimulates digestion and is an antioxidant so helps prevent cancer.
Galangal is also good for the digestion and helps fight colds, congestion and respiratory ailments. It also helps lower high cholesterol.
With all these herbs and spices used with abundance in most Thai dishes, going out for a delicious Thai meal seems to be the obvious answer if you feel a cold coming on, or if you just want to keep yourself healthy with a good dose of natural fresh remedies that combat many of the ailments of Western society. All these medicinal benefits are most apparent in really fresh herbs, so make sure that you use the freshest ingredients when preparing your own Thai food at home and get all this goodness on your side.