Spices are a commonplace and, usually, a cheap way to make your food tasty. Fortunately, these natural ingredients which we so commonly and nonchalantly add to our food often have notable health benefits as well.
Why You Should Use Spices
Spices are a delicious and worthwhile investment if you are cooking. They are great to the taste, and they make for an interesting and delicious aroma (usually). Not to mention, the wide variety of spices out there means a there is a wide variety of flavors, and combinations thereof, to add to your cooked food.
Additionally, and perhaps more importantly, are the oft-underestimated health benefits that spices provide. Considering the wide variety of spices in existence, there are many potential health benefits to be gained from incorporating them into your diet.
10 Healthy Spices
Following are ten of the healthiest spices to add to your food, with the potential health benefits as diverse as the spices themselves:
Turmeric is a spice well-known for its health benefits, so much so that it is almost universally available as a supplement. Per eatingwell.com, turmeric contains an antioxidant known as curcumin. There is adequate scientific evidence to show that curcumin can help treat a range of health problems from chronic arthritis, to heart disease and diabetes. Scientific study is still underway to better understand the health benefits of curcumin.
Nutmeg is a very common spice used in baking. Per healthwholeness.com, nutmeg has detoxifying properties that can help your liver and kidneys get rid of toxins. It might also be useful as a sleep aid and to help with your digestive system.
Parsley is an herb often used in cooking. Per healingplantfoods.com, parsley is chock-full of Vitamin K, such that it can be beneficial even in small amounts. Vitamin K is useful in encouraging proper blood clotting, as well as for proper bone metabolism.
Cinnamon is a tasty, slightly sweet spice that can be useful in helping to get rid of negative bacteria in the body, per healthwholeness.com. It has a variety of other potential benefits as well, including as an anti-inflammatory aid and as in helping to regulate blood sugar levels. Cinnamon makes for an excellent addition to baked dishes and as a flavoring in your coffee. It has a bold taste, so consider adding in a dash of sugar to make it a bit sweeter or taking cinnamon as a supplement.
Cayenne pepper is a spicy and quite bold spice, excellent for increasing the spiciness of cooked dishes. Per healingplantfoods.com, cayenne is known for its positive effects of boosting the metabolism, suppressing unnecessary feelings of hunger, and regulating blood sugar levels. Be careful when adding cayenne to your food, as a little bit goes a long way taste-wise.
Ginger is a spice known for its ability to help ease a queasy stomach, per eatingwell.com. This includes the nausea from morning sickness, surgery, and even chemotherapy. Additionally, it contains substances known as “gingerols” that help fight inflammation; In turn, it might help to reduce osteoarthritis pain and soothe sore muscles. Ginger goes well with baked dishes and in some cooked dishes. It is also commonly available as a supplement.
Garlic is an herb with sufficient scientific evidence to support its efficacy in lowering high blood pressure, per eatingwell.com. One study has shown that in people with hypertension, taking a daily garlic supplement helped reduce blood pressure as well as serving as a popular beta-blocker drug. Given its proven effectiveness, garlic can make for a worthwhile and tasty addition to salads and cooked dishes.
Peppermint is a refreshing spice that is perhaps underestimated in its health benefits. Per eatingwell.com, research suggests that the minty aroma of peppermint has various therapeutic benefits. These include helping to lift one’s mood, and reducing nausea. Drinking (and enjoying the aroma of) peppermint tea is an excellent and calorie-free way to get the benefits of this plant.
Black pepper is a spice with a long history as a flavoring additive and medicine, particularly in India, per healingplantfoods.com. It helps the body by actually aiding the absorption of other nutrients. Given this use, black pepper can be especially beneficial when consumed alongside a wide variety of other nutrients.
Curry (or curry powder) is a combination of spices, that is commonly touted as one of the healthiest spice(s) out there, per healthwholeness.com. It is usually comprised of turmeric, coriander, and other spices. It is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as its potential in helping to prevent cancer.