Variety is The Spice of Life
Chances are you sprinkle cinnamon into your morning oatmeal or add a dash of oregano to pizza without giving the spices much thought. But did you know your favorite flavors can actually do your body good?
Spices and herbs have been used by our ancestors for centuries for their medicinal qualities as well as for their culinary enhancements. Spices provide anti-inflammatory benefits, disease-fighting antioxidants, they balance blood sugars, improve circulation and cardiovascular health, help burn fat, can ease a sore throat and nausea, and even help you sleep. Best of all, these crucial benefits are available to all without needless fat and calories.
Here are some spice facts to spice up your health:
Cardamom eases belching, flatulence and indigestion; treats respiratory conditions like coughing, asthma and loss of voice; aids in the elimination of toxins through your skin.
How to use it: Add to your morning OJ, fruit salad, or mix it with white or brown rice before you boil it.
Cayenne Pepper increases metabolism and fat-burning ability by up to 25%. It also eliminates gas from the stomach and intestines; soothes sore throat, and cold and flu symptoms
How to use it: Stir into a cup of hot chocolate or any sweet juice drink for a contrasting flavor kick.
Cinnamon helps relieve diarrhea, stomach upset, and inflammation. It also lowers blood sugar cholesterol.
How to use it: Stir into coffee/tea, yogurt, oatmeal or any boxed cereal.
Celery Seed flushes the liver of toxins; lowers blood pressure; combats water retention.
How to use it: Think salads—tuna, potato and egg all work, which can be tossed onto a bed of lettuce, eaten alone or spread onto bread.
Cloves soothe digestive tract muscles and is a potent antihistamine.
How to use it: Mix into your nightly ice cream treat or sneak into mustard spread.
Coriander acts as a diuretic; eases seasonal allergies.
How to use it: Cook into couscous and quinoa, which you can store and eat with leftovers.
Fennel supports milk production in nursing mothers; combats water retention, and calms bowel distress
How to use it: Add to canned minestrones and vegetable soups.
Garlic decreases blood pressure and cholesterol levels, destroys cancer cells and may disrupt the metabolism of tumor cells, aids digestion, prevents flatulence, and is beneficial in the treatment of diabetes.
How to use it: Saute fresh garlic over low heat and mix with pasta, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan cheese.
Ginger can decrease motion and morning sickness, and nausea; may also relieve pain and swelling associated with arthritis.
How to use it: For motion sickness, try having one or two pieces of crystallized, or candied, ginger. Add to vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes, as well as fresh fruit (especially peaches).
Mustard relieves respiratory problems
How to use it: Add to deviled eggs, picnic salads, and sauces
Nutmeg improves digestion; eases the symptoms of menstruation; induces calm and sleep.
How to use it: Add to applesauce or plain yogurt
Oregano loosens mucus; helps treat respiratory illnesses; and calms indigestion.
How to use it: Use in any tomato-based foods, like marinara sauces, pizza and soups.
Paprika contains capsaicin, whose anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects may lower the risk of cancer.
How to use it: Sprinkle on eggs, or add to soups, stews and casseroles.
Peppermint is used to treat gastric and digestive disorders, tension, insomnia, allergies, and asthma . It also aids in weight loss by boosting metabolism.
How to use it: Boil peppermint leaves to make tea
Rosemary stops gene mutations that could lead to cancer and may help prevent damage to the blood vessels that raise heart attack risk.
How to use it: Add to lamb or chicken dishes, soups, sauces, salads, pasta and bread such as foccacia.
Thyme relaxes the muscle tissue of the gastrointestinal tract; stimulates immune system.
How to use it: Toss into any meat-based dishes.
Turmeric reduces inflammation (joints, airways); detoxifies the liver.
How to use: Mix in with oil-and-vinegar-based salad dressings, or when cooking rice.
What is your favorite spice or herb that you use?
To Your Health,