Whether you love flavorful food or are just trying to eat healthier, you should consider adding more spices to your cooking. Research on the properties of various spices is still ongoing, but numerous studies have yielded promising results. Spices provide a healthy, natural way to reduce many aches and pain. Still, you should always do your research and check with your doctor to make sure high doses of spices won't have harmful interactions with your current medications or medical conditions. Below Food Writer Rory Brown reveals five spices that have well-documented health benefits.
Cinnamon contains a phytochemical called cinnamaldehyde, which seems to boost the body's immunity to viruses and even help ward off diabetes, high cholesterol, and cognitive decline. Some studies have found potential connections between cinnamon consumption and improved memory and cognition. Sprinkle some cinnamon on your hot chocolate, use it liberally in baked goods, or make some baked cinnamon apples.
This golden yellow spice has a long history in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine. It's a well-known anti-inflammatory that provides needed relief to countless people suffering from arthritis, autoimmune disorders, or other conditions involving inflammation. To enjoy its full effects, you need to consume about 500 to 1000 milligrams of curcuminoids per day--that's approximately 2.5 to 5 teaspoons of turmeric (either fresh or ground). Season your scrambled eggs with turmeric, enjoy a mug of golden milk, or add the spice to your curry. One extra tip: turmeric seems to be absorbed by the body better when it's combined with black pepper, so pair the two spices for optimal results.
Chili peppers are packed with all sorts of nutrients: vitamins and minerals, fiber, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. These include iron, potassium, and vitamins A and C. The capsaicin found in chili peppers may serve as an appetite suppressant, making it a useful ingredient for people looking to drop weight. Capsaicin has also been associated with a lower risk of cancer and heart disease. A 2015 study showed that people who love chilies and spicy good tend to live longer, especially if they eat spicy foods frequently.
Another multi-purpose spice, cloves have a long medicinal history. Rich in antioxidants, cloves also have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. They've been used to alleviate nausea, indigestion, and toothache. You can sometimes even find clove oil in toothpaste or mouthwash. Cloves are a classic component of holiday baking, but they go just as well with savory meat stews.
The fennel plant has numerous uses; its bulbs, stalks, and leaves are all edible and make delicious additions to stews. The spice itself comes from the dried seed, which has a warm flavor somewhat similar to anise. In traditional and herbal medicine circles, fennel is used to improve eyesight, as well as to alleviate coughing and indigestion. The bulbs are also very healthy, containing high levels of potassium, carotenoids, fiber, and vitamins.
These five spices--cinnamon, turmeric, chili peppers, cloves, and fennel--greatly enhance the flavor of any dish. For centuries, they've been used in various traditional remedies, and modern science is finally confirming what our ancestors have suspected for centuries: these spices promote healthier, longer lives.
About Rory Brown (Charleston, SC): After spending the first 40 years of his life in the United States, Rory Brown decided to focus on the quality of life and began living internationally. He now spends his time in Lake Como, Italy, Sydney, Australia, Charleston, South Carolina, and Kauai, Hawaii. His appreciation for simple health food that embraces local traditions of excellence has earned him credit among farm-to-table communities everywhere he goes.
Brown began his career as a technologist and has always focused on healthy lifestyle choices. His well-researched lifestyle writing has increasingly focused on living life to the fullest each day throughout the world.
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