Diane Blum

Freelance Writer

"Spice Up Your Health!"
posted on Sept 23, 2014 on Third Age
Did you know that one of the easiest things you can do to improve your health is to use a handful of spices each day?
Simply adding the right spices increases nutrients in your diet, allows you to use less salt and sugar for taste, and also has important health side benefits. Here are a few of the healthiest:
1) Cinnamon
What doesn’t cinnamon do is really the question. Cinnamon contains a lot of important minerals: iron, calcium and manganese…and fiber, too. It is a powerful antioxidant. It regulates your blood sugar and reduces insulin resistance, potentially lowering diabetes risk. Because of it’s spicy sweet taste, it can satisfy cravings for sugar or artificial sweeteners (both of which are bad for you).
Says Dr. Susan Brown, author of Better Bones, Better Body, “Cinnamon reduces bone breakdown and can help prevent osteoporotic bone loss”. It may also help stimulate the brain, reducing brain fog. Studies are currently underway examining whether cinnamon has an inhibitory effect on the protein, Tau, seen in Alzheimer’s.
Buy the healthier, Ceylon Cinnamon, also called “true cinnamon”. ½ - 1 teaspoon spread throughout the day. Sprinkle on fruit, oatmeal, Chai tea, or just about anything!
2) Turmeric
Turmeric is the yellow spice found in most curry recipes. It is another highly antioxidant-rich herb that is also known for anti-inflammatory benefits. Inflammation in the body is viewed as a precursor to many diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and allergies.
Referred to by many as the “anti-cancer” spice, turmeric contains curcumin, which has shown to have anti-cancer effects in animal and laboratory studies. Dr. Sara Gottfried, author of The Hormone Cure, has said relating to top breast care prevention strategies, “Eat turmeric on your food, the world’s most potent anti-inflammatory.” Some practitioners prescribe turmeric to relieve inflammation due to injuries, arthritis, and muscle sprains.
½ - 1 teaspoon in tea, meat dishes, yogurt, eggs, etc. The dried herb normally contains from 3-5% curcumin.
3) Garlic
Rich in Vitamin C, B6 and manganese; Garlic is antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal – killing off yeast infections such as candida – and has anti-parasitic properties. It provides fuel for healthy probiotics and supports a strong immune system. Garlic contains allicin, which blocks enzymes that lead to viral infections. Allicin is heat sensitive, so raw garlic is better. Enjoy a clove daily.
4) Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, Chili Pepper
These hot spices are all antioxidants containing a compound called capsaicin, which causes endorphin release (a pleasure hormone) in the body, potentially reducing arthritis pain, neuropathic pain and skin itching. Capsaicin also lowered blood pressure and suppressed appetite in laboratory studies.
5) Cardamom
This sweet herb helps with digestive problems, combats nausea and heartburn, and eases mouth ulcers. It is a diuretic and fiber-rich antioxidant; increases metabolism and increases the body’s ability to burn fat.
6) Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme
Antioxidants with microbacterial (fend off bacteria) properties. Oregano is known as a natural barrier to E.Coli and Salmonella, and is also high in bone-loving Vitamin K. Rosemary is believed to reduce cancer risk, improve digestion, and possibly aid in memory.
7) Ginger
This peppery spice is known as an anti-inflammatory, anti-tussive (helps with coughs) and as a nausea remedy for gastro distress, pregnancies, motion sickness and chemotherapy effects. It may also reduce exercise induced muscle pain. Good in everything from tea to stir-fry!
So try spicing up your menus and enjoy these health benefits!
Buy whole (last longer than ground) and replace after 3 years. Place spices in shakers on the table and let your family find new favorites daily!
Just remember to do your own research, and talk with your doctor, especially if you have underlying health issues or are taking prescription medications or supplements. Diane Blum is a freelance writer
Let's get creative!