Spice It Up!

Besides adding flavor to food, did you know that spices can be beneficial to your health? Many of you know that herbs have health benefits and people can study for years to learn about the benefits and ways to use herbs for health. I want to focus on spices because spices are less talked about but still filled with potent nutrients which can enhance your health.

Some of the spices I want to focus on that have benefits benefits are oregano, cinnamon, mint, turmeric, rosemary, clove, and parsley. They are very good sources of anti-oxidant nutrients, and contain different vitamins and minerals. They even contain fiber, protein and healthy fats! They have other "anti" factors also like antibacterial and anti fungal elements and they are all anti-inflammatory which means that they could help reduce joint and muscle swelling. Many people take over the counter medications for aches and pains. Adding certain spices to your diet may help you recover from aches quicker.

Oregano and parsley have vitamin K which is good for bone building. Ginger may help with muscle soreness if taken for two weeks and is anti inflammatory and may help with attention span if taken for 2 months. Nutmeg may help prevent cavities by reducing plaque and fighting bacteria in the mouth and is another anti inflammatory. (Try adding it coffee like I do) Cayenne pepper may help you to burn more calories and crave fatty foods a bit less. I sprinkle it on eggs in the morning. Cumin may help boost your memory and brain power and is high in iron which can help your immune system. Sage may help boost brain function and memory.

Cinnamon is also reported to help control blood sugar. 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can provide improved insulin resistance, which in turn decreases heart disease risk and also helps with weight control. If you are eating something sweet, add a half a teaspoon of cinnamon to it to moderate any blood sugar spikes. (Chromium is also helpful for blood sugar levels but it is a mineral.)

Some of my favorites have numerous health benefits and I try to add them daily… Turmeric can be used to help with arthritis and stomach problems and has anti cancer effects. If I don't add it to food, I take it in capsule form at night. Rosemary is great and I have the essential oil also. It can help improve circulation and boosts immune health. Since it is harder to cook or bake with it daily, I use the oil or chew it raw. Saffron extract is harder to find and use but there are more benefits with the saffron extract than the powered spice found in stores. It has been shown to help with depression  and reducing menstrual cramps. Ginger is also one of my favorites and it has been shown to reduce cancer risks and even help reverse it. Please consult a doctor before starting new herbs and spices as they may not be beneficial for you but great for someone else. Have a spicy day!