5 Autumn Spices and Their Health Benefits
Thanksgiving is almost here and what better way to flavor your food than with the natural herbs and spices of autumn. But these spices don’t just have to be used during the fall. Here are some of my favorites and some great ideas on how to use them.
There have been research studies that show cinnamon helps regulate blood sugar and lipid levels in type 2 diabetics. It actually activates enzymes that stimulate cells, which helps the body to respond more effectively to insulin.
Cinnamon is great in coffee, tea, desserts, oatmeal, cereal, smoothies and baked goods. You can even add it to peanut butter (or the nut butter of your choice) to dip your apples and celery in. I just did that tonight. Even though cinnamon is usually associated with sweet foods, here are two of my favorite savory cinnamon recipes: Lahmahjoon Pizza and Oven Barbecued Brisket.
Nutmeg pairs well with cinnamon and all the foods I mentioned above. Research has shown that it can stimulate the brain to battle fatigue and stress. I know I could definitely use some more nutmeg in my diet, especially during the holidays. What is your favorite thing to pair nutmeg with?
Cloves are usually found in various dishes from India. It is not used enough in America. It has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties, along with anti-clotting properties, which is good for arthritis and heart health.
Here is a little recipe to use when you are having guests over for the holidays. My grandmother used to make this. In a small potpourri crock pot or just a pan on the stove, take an apple and orange and slice it up, along with some whole cloves, cinnamon sticks, some nutmeg, some powdered cinnamon or whatever else you want to add. Then add enough water to simmer on low all day long and your home will smell like the holidays. At the end of the night, my grandmother would take a tablespoon of this concoction and put it in her tea.
Oregano is jam-packed with antibacterial properties. It has vitamin K, iron, manganese along with many antioxidants. By incorporating oregano you can help battle illness and boost your immune system. I used some oregano today in my eggs for “brinner” (breakfast for dinner). I also love oregano in sandwiches, soups, stews, chili, pizza and of course any Italian-themed dish. I think oregano makes everything taste better.
Ginger is known for relieving nausea, but it also can boost your immune system and improve circulation. I love ginger tea and an occasional diet ginger ale. And who doesn’t love some ginger with sushi to clean the palate.
Ginger tea is very easy to make. Just thinly slice some ginger, boil in water and enjoy. My other favorite ginger dish is known in the Filipino and Hawaiian cultures. It is called Papaya Chicken. The main spice in this recipe is ginger. It is a soup and I like to add any extra vegetables I have. My husband loves this dish, too.
What are your favorite spices and herbs? How do you incorporate them into your daily meal plan?
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Photo Credit: KStork