|March 28, 2023


Does the aroma of masala wafting from your kitchen make you hungry? 

Well, you're not alone!!

Masala mixes or spice blends are essential to Indian cooking. They infuse incredible flavors and aromas into your food and tingle your taste buds. Indian spice mixes contain nutrients and provide goodness for adults and kids.

"Masala" means "spice mixture." A Masala powder is the ground powder of the whole spice mixture. ​Indian cuisine generally uses a variety of spice powders. Ayurvedic texts say that these powders increase body temperature.

Each region of India has its distinct masala mixes. The different qualities of each masala blend are due to specific ingredients. The proportions in which we use these spices in combination are also significant. 

Some aromatic spice blends are:

  1. Sambar masala, roasted curry powder, cumin powder, and rasam powder from South India
  2. Chhole masala, garam masala, or chicken pepper masala from North India
  3. Goda masala from Maharashtra, and 
  4. Paanch Phoran from Eastern India 

These masala blends give traditional dishes a unique taste and have many health benefits.

There are unusual masalas such as fruit salad masala, fruit chaat masala, or cheese masala. These are famous for their distinct aroma and flavor. They also have several health benefits.

Each masala powder has a special ingredient that gives a unique flavor to the dish in which we use them. The ingredients are dry-roasted. You can roast with or without oil or ghee for spice powder preparation. We then grind the mix to a fine powder. 

Did you know?

1. Garam masala ingredients are

  • green and black cardamom
  • Coriander seeds
  • Cumin seed powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Bay leaves
  • Nutmeg
  • Mace, and
  • Black pepper
2. Indian households make Sambar masala powder by roasting and grinding
  • Red chilies
  • Asafetida
  • Cumin seeds
  • Coriander seeds
  • Chana dal
  • Urad dal
  • Black pepper
  • Fenugreek seeds, and
  • Turmeric
3. Rasam powder is a mixture of
  • Red chilies
  • Toor dal
  • Coriander seeds
  • Turmeric
  • Cumin seed powder
  • Peppercorns, and 
  • Dried curry leaves
4. The Paanch Phoron or five-spice mix from East Indian states uses
  • Nigella (onion seeds)
  • Fennel
  • Fenugreek
  • Cumin seeds, and
  • Black mustard

5. Curry powder (or Madras curry powder) comes from spices like

  • Curry leaves
  • Turmeric
  • Fenugreek and
  • Red chilies.

6. We get Chhole masala by mixing

  • Coriander seeds
  • Bay leaves
  • Red chilies
  • Turmeric
  • Cumin seed powder
  • Coriander seeds
  • Mustard seeds
  • Cloves
  • Peppercorns
  • Dried garlic
  • Ginger powder
  • Sesame
  • Star anise, and 
  • Fennel seeds.

7. Goda masala, the base for most Maharashtrian curries, includes

  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Cloves
  • Coriander seeds
  • White sesame seeds
  • Coconut flakes
  • Black stone flower (i.e., dagad phool), and
  • Black peppercorns.

Now that we know this let's get to know the health benefits of Indian masalas.

Benefits of Indian masala powders

Benefits of Indian masala powders

They give you invaluable nutrients.

Indian masala powders contain a variety of pulses, cereals, and spices. This gives them a lot of nutritional value. For instance, sambar and rasam masalas are pure blends rich in vitamins and minerals. They include iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, folate, and carotene. 

Many Indian recipes mix whole spices with masala powders. We combine whole spices with blends like garam masala and Goda masala. These masala blends have iron and calcium in plenty. Thus, we can call each spice mixture a virtual nutrient bomb! Most Indian masala powders are rich in pulses, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Masalas have anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties.

Do you suffer from frequent food poisoning? 

If yes, know this - Food poisoning is due to microorganisms threatening your health. Most of the time, these are bacteria and pathogens. 

Most Indian masalas contain spices like cinnamon, clove, and cumin. These have significant antibacterial and antifungal properties against food-spoiling bacteria. They also fight pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus and other harmful fungi. Thus, Indian masala powders work like anti-microbial agents killing microorganisms. They also stop their growth.

Boosts body metabolism.

Ingredients like ginger, garlic, turmeric, fenugreek, and red pepper are effective cholesterol-lowering agents. Several other indigenous Indian spices have heart-healthy and anti-diabetic properties. They can even fight obesity issues when consumed daily.

Spice mixes have anti-inflammatory properties.

Most masala blends have spices like bay leaves, red chilies, black pepper, and nutmeg. These herbs have high anti-inflammatory properties. They fight diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and atherosclerosis. Including such spices in your daily diet helps the body's natural inflammatory response.

Contain antioxidants.

The spices in most masala mixes are rich in antioxidants. These are polyphenols, lignans, and flavonoids. Antioxidants reduce oxidative stress. 

Mental and physical stress occurs when you have higher concentrations of free radicals. These radicals accumulate in cells and tissues of our bodies. 

Our bodies create these free radicals due to the following factors:

  • Contaminated food
  • Physical exertion
  • Adverse environmental conditions
  • Smoking
  • Alcoholism
  • Drug addiction, and 
  • Even radiation! 

High oxidative stress leads to several diseases. They are cardiac ailments, rapid aging, and cancer. 

So, including masala powders in your daily diet helps reduce stress and even slows aging.

Masalas are excellent for dental health.

Did you know people from ancient times used cloves and cinnamon to cure dental problems? 


Because these spices contain phytochemicals. These chemicals act against oral microorganisms. They fight dental conditions like plaque, staining, pain and swelling, gingivitis, and periodontics. 

So, masala blends with cloves and cinnamon are beneficial for dental health.

And they can even help in fighting cancer!

Do you know that many spices can tune your immune responses? Why, they can even alter the basic working of the immune system itself! Medical experts call this modification the "immunomodulatory effect." 

Many research studies suggest that many spices have immunomodulatory effects. This is apart from their proven antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties are effective in preventing and treating many cancers. 

Masala blends fight breast, liver, stomach, lung, colon, rectum, cervix, and prostate cancers. 

Turmeric, ginger, garlic, cumin, red chilies, and black pepper have anti-cancer compounds. They are thymoquinone, capsaicin, curcumin, and piperine. 

Pharmacognosy magazine published a study in July 2016. This study found that the Indian sambar curry can prevent colon cancer. The spices added to its curry powder have anti-cancerous properties.

To conclude

Remember that when you add masala powders to your food, you're not merely adding flavor and aroma. You're also helping your family stay healthy and safe!


Is Indian masala good for health?

Yes. For instance, garam masala is good for your health. It can prevent the growth of cancer-causing radicals and colon cancer too! Garam masala is rich in anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties too. These properties of garam masala help restore cardiac health and reduce cholesterol.

What are the health benefits of masala?

The following are the powerful health benefits of Indian masala powders:

  • Helps With Digestion
  • Provides Strong Antioxidants
  • Regulates Blood Pressure & Improves Heart Health
  • Reduces Inflammation
  • Many masala powders lower the risk of cancer.
  • Fights Oral Bacteria
  • Enhances Nutrient Absorption
  • Defends Against Diabetes

Which masala is best for digestion?

The following cooking spices can help with digestion:

  • Ginger: Indians use ginger to reduce nausea, gas, and bloating, as it has phenolic compounds. Phenolic compounds relieve irritation in the digestive tract.
  • Mint
  • Asafoetida
  • Cinnamon
  • Turmeric

What spices have the best health benefits?

The following herbs and spices have the best health benefits:

  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Cumin
  • Peppermint
  • Echinacea
  • Cinnamon
  • Chili powder
  • Parsley

What are the side effects of masala?

These can be the probable side effects of overeating masala:

  • Allergic reactions to certain spices
  • Skin rash
  • Diarrhea because of an overdose of spices
  • Asthma because of spice inhalation
  • Hemorrhoids because of some spices
  • Salmonella contamination

Which spice keeps the stomach healthy?

It is Ginger. According to research, ginger can improve your gut health. It is also beneficial for your stomach and intestines. Ginger helps settle an upset stomach, so we use ginger often to combat nausea.

Related Products