Adding some spice to your diet is never a bad idea. Besides keeping your taste buds happy, adding a dash of this and a sprinkle of that can help you avoid adding extra salt or fat. What’s more, many spices are chock-full of their own health benefits. And we’ve got four powerhouse spices that are perfect for enjoying right now in cooler weather recipes. (You can also reap their benefits in other forms, including teas, supplements and more.) Here’s the scoop on these super spices and how you can put them to work for you:
Turmeric is the prime ingredient in many Indian dishes, and it’s the spice that gives mustard it’s bright yellow hue. But it has even more to offer in terms of potential health benefits:
- Inflammation: It helps to both fight and prevent inflammation in your joints.
- Aging: It’s being studied for how it may help prevent aging and decline of brain functioning.
- Heart problems: Turmeric can act as a blood thinner, helping to fight off heart attacks and strokes. It can also help to lower cholesterol and safeguard against heart disease. If you take a prescription blood thinner, talk to your doctor before adding turmeric supplements to your diet.
Ginger is a pungent spice that’s perfect for stir-fries, marinades and even tea. Whether it’s freshly grated, ginger powder or even supplement capsules, ginger packs a wallop of benefits:
- Pain and inflammation: Like turmeric, ginger has also been shown to help with joint pain and inflammation. In fact, research has shown that a few grated tablespoons after a workout can relieve muscle pain.
- Nausea: This is where the benefits of ginger really shine. It’s been shown to be effective in helping with everything from motion sickness and morning sickness during pregnancy to nausea from chemotherapy in cancer patients.
- Circulation: As the weather turns cooler, adding a little ginger to your diet can help improve your circulation.
- Migraines: Its anti-inflammatory properties make ginger an effective treatment by blocking the chemical messengers that cause the brain to swell during a migraine. For relief, trying drinking ginger tea at the first hint of a migraine.
Is there a spice that screams “autumn” more loudly than cinnamon? Bonus: It packs some considerable health benefits and is easy to add to your diet. Sprinkle some in your coffee or tea for an extra kick of flavor, or on a crisp fall apple for an afternoon snack. Its benefits are:
- Inflammation: Another inflammation fighter, cinnamon has been found to help lessen swelling.
- Blood sugar: Cinnamon has chemicals that may lower blood sugar by helping cells take in sugar and use insulin more effectively. And while cinnamon isn’t a substitute for your medication if you already have diabetes, adding it to your diet could help ward off the condition. Curious to learn more? Talk to your doctor about whether it could be right for you.
Rosemary is a great spice to use year-round, but the fact that it smells like a winter forest is a great fit for cool-weather cooking. Chinese medicine has relied on the healing power of rosemary for thousands of years, and it’s easy to see why:
- Brain power: Rosemary has oils that boost mental alertness and stimulate brain activity. It may even help to enhance memory.
- Energy: Take advantage of the energizing properties of the scent of rosemary by steeping it to make a tea. Or add a sprig to a spray bottle with water for a refreshing afternoon pick-me-up.
- Cancer: Adding rosemary extract to burger patties before grilling may help prevent the production of cancer-causing heterocyclic amines (HCAs) in grilled meats by up to 90%. Some studies show that rosemary may also prevent breast cancer and leukemia cells from multiplying.
’Tis the season to add some seasoning
Check out our Healthy Recipes Pinterest page for more ideas on how you can give your healthy eating plan a boost this fall!
- Arthritis Foundation – arthritis.org