Za’atar has some truly impressive health benefits, including its ability to improve the immune system, boost skin health, build strong bones, increase circulation, clear out the respiratory tracts, soothe inflammation, boost energy, improve mood, aid memory, and potential to treat chronic diseases.
While many spices are delicious and beneficial for your overall health by themselves, powerful flavor and health conditions can sometimes be maximized when combined. Za’atar is one of the best examples, and this Middle Eastern mix consists of thyme, sesame seeds, sumac, and salt. There are a number of different varieties, occasionally including marjoram or oregano, rather than thyme. These herbs and spices contain a wealth of powerful nutrients and organic compounds, including thymol, gallic acid, carvacrol, and quercetin. By taking in the best of numerous healthy herbs, this spice mix has been popularized throughout the Middle East and is beginning to spread to other parts of the world.
While zaatar is another name for thyme in some cultures, the spice blend with a slightly different name is used in a number of other ways. It is a popular addition to salads, as well as seasonings for meat and vegetables. The flavor, depending on the particular combination, is often described as toasty, tangy, or nutty. You particularly see it with olive oil and bread, and in dips for vegetables. By combining flavonoids, minerals, and other key nutrients, this spicy seed mixture can do wonders for your overall health. Let’s take a closer look at some of the many health benefits of za’atar.
Health benefits of za’atar include:
Relief from Symptoms of Chronic Diseases
Sumac, with its healthy supply of quercetin, acts as an antioxidant protecting the body against free radicals that cause various health issues. Numerous studies have shown this benefit of sumac’s organic components, and as a key ingredient in za’atar, this spice mix can significantly boost your protection from chronic diseases caused by free radicals (Mehmet Hakki Alma et al., 2003).
Clear Respiratory Tracts
There are certain expectorant properties of thyme, particularly when it is brewed in a tea. Thyme can help to clear out the respiratory tracts, causing you to expectorate (a cough) out phlegm and mucus, so this potent spice mix can be added to food when you’re feeling a cold coming on. The immune-boosting abilities of the herbs involved also help to ward off illnesses.
There are strong traditional beliefs about the cognitive impact of za’atar, including its possibility of improving memory. People used to sleep with za’atar beneath their pillow, but in reality, it could be due to the circulation-boosting powers of za’atar, as well as the rich mineral content that can boost brain power and stimulate neural activity.
You can make za’atar into a paste or a salve, much as you would to spread on bread, but instead put it on inflamed areas of the skin, such as bug bites and aching joints. When the spice is consumed, it can have a similar anti-inflammatory effect on other parts of the body, particularly if you suffer from arthritis, gout, or other inflammatory conditions in the stomach or respiratory system.
The high concentration of polyphenols and flavonoids found in this spice mix make it a powerful energy booster that can get your metabolism moving. Furthermore, it can help you get more restful sleep, due to the magnesium found in the mix, helping you feel more energized and ready to face your day each morning.
Studies and traditional evidence have linked za’atar with improved mood and decreased rates of depression. This use has been popular for generations in the Middle East. The phenol that comes from thyme and oregano may have direct mood-boosting effects by impacting the hormones being released and regulated throughout the body. Carvacrol has been directly linked to increased energy and cognitive function as well.
One thing that these herbs all have in common is minerals, and between the high concentration of iron, calcium, copper, and magnesium, za’atar can have a major impact on bone mineral density. Adding this spice mix to your regular diet can help you ward off osteoporosis and other degenerative bone conditions as you age.
As mentioned earlier, za’atar can help improve the circulation of oxygenated blood throughout the body thanks to its impressive iron content. Iron is a key component of hemoglobin, which transports red blood cells throughout the body, ensuring that all organ systems get the oxygen they need.
Immune System Aid
Certain organic compounds found in za’atar spice mix have anti-fungal, anti-microbial, and antiseptic properties, making this an all-around powerhouse for your immune system. This includes internal and external applications, keeping your gut, skin, respiratory, and nervous systems functioning at a high, healthy level.