Spices That Can Improve Your Health
A sprinkle of something sweet over your breakfast bowl. A pinch or two of something savory to add depth of flavor to your dinner ingredients. An assortment of different little spice bottles likely can be found in most of our kitchens right now, but they do more than just add flavor. Some spices can actually improve your health.
Spices have been part of food preparation long before they showed up on trade-route documents in Asia and Egypt thousands of years ago. Before anyone ever thought to record daily life, an assortment of local spices were likely being used alongside herbs for daily cooking and also natural medicines. Because of this twin use for food and healing, it should be no surprise that there are several spices that can boost your health when used as part of regular, nutritious eating.
Let’s look at some with the biggest known health benefits:
This strong-scented member of the onion family is also considered a spice by those who use it as a garlic salt or garlic powder. According to research shared by Johns Hopkins Medicine, garlic may also help keep the heart in good health. The properties in garlic can keep blood vessels around the heart more flexible, decreasing hardening of the arteries that happens as people age. This hardening, called atherosclerosis, can make strokes and heart attacks more likely. Some ways to add garlic to your diet:
- Season lean meats like beef, chicken or pork – or plant-based foods like tofu – with garlic salt or garlic powder.
- Sauté chopped garlic and add it to meats, vegetables, rice or pasta.
- Slice the tops off whole cloves of garlic, drizzle them with olive oil and roast them in the oven until they are soft. Spread them on veggies or chunks of whole-grain bread.
Often paired with sugary baked goods like cookies and pies, you might associate cinnamon with desserts. But the health benefits of this delicious spice go beyond sweet treats. Cinnamon is the ground, powdered form of a certain kind of tree bark. Beyond its flavor and distinct smell, cinnamon has strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Cinnamon is also a staple of the heart-healthy Mediterranean Diet. How to work more cinnamon into your diet:
- Sprinkle cinnamon over your morning oatmeal.
- Mix it into yogurt along with fruit or nuts for a tasty snack.
- Add it into the blender when making a smoothie.
- Toss it with cooked sweet potatoes or carrots.
This vibrant yellow-orange spice most often associated with China and India is one of the most recent darlings when it comes to scoping out spices with health benefits. A close cousin of ginger, you can find these two ingredients paired together in herbal teas. Turmeric is also used to season meats, vegetables and rice or potato dishes. Like other spices, research has shown it can have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits for the entire body. Other potential benefits of turmeric include helps with arthritis, decreases anxiety and helps to manage exercise-induced muscle soreness. Here’s how to work more turmeric into your diet:
- Add to your juices or blended drinks.
- Use it to spice up your stews or soups.
- Whisk in a teaspoon to your scrambled eggs or omelet.
- Sprinkle on your vegetables before you roast them.
- Stinking Good – Reap the Health Benefits of Garlic
- Taming Your Sweet Tooth: How to Cut Back on Excess Sugar
- Moon Milk: The Bedtime Drink to Help You Fall Asleep
Photo credit: Getty Images