5 Healthy Spices & Why You Should Use Them Now
By Amber Lowry
It’s safe to say that spices make meals more exciting. But did you know they can also have health benefits? Modern science is waking up to the fact that our favorite spices and herbs are vital for more than just our tastes buds. With the holidays right around the corner, take note of these five healthy spices that should be spicing up your life.
Well known for its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is the ‘golden child’ of various Asian dishes such as curry. Finally, science has realized just how valuable turmeric is not only for its color and taste, but health potential. A component of turmeric called curcumin has been cited for its healing effects on various inflammatory conditions in both traditional Eastern cultures as well as more recent scientific studies. A fun way to use turmeric is mixing it into a hot cup of almond or coconut milk to create a golden milk, or simply added to your favorite stews and soups.
Used throughout the world from Latin America to the Middle East, cumin’s appeal expands far beyond the dinner plate. Traditional medical practices have claimed cumin to possess antibiotic properties and more recently, studies have shown cumin to hold painkilling, fever-reducing and antioxidant properties as well. Easy ways to incorporate cumin into your diet are in just about any beef dish (tacos anyone?) or dashed onto eggs.
Great for more than just candy and soda, ginger is used in a wide variety of Eastern dishes and natural medicines. Like many of its spicy counterparts, the health properties of ginger have been shown by studies to be highly beneficial for a number of conditions such as stroke, heart disease, nausea, immunity, diabetes and more. Adding ginger in its raw form to a smoothie or to your holiday pumpkin pie in its powder form are fun ways to embrace this potent spice.
4. Himalayan sea salt
We’ve all heard about the dangers of table salt consumption to your health, but what many people don’t know is that we actually need salt as part of a healthy diet. Using Himalayan sea salt is an excellent way to get all the minerals and health benefits associated with pure, natural salt without facing the health issues associated with the salt doctors warn you about. Essential for biological functions such as absorption of nutrients, healthy regulation of water and the prevention of muscle cramps, using Himalayan sea salt in moderation with your own unique health needs is great for just about any dish that calls for salt.
As a staple in holiday cooking and baking, cinnamon is a must-have for not only your sweet tooth, but your health. Research shows that cinnamon’s powerful health benefits include lowing blood sugar levels, combating oxidative stress, increasing insulin sensitivity, decreasing risk for heart disease and much more. To get the most out of its health-promoting properties, lean towards using Ceylon cinnamon. Adding a dash in its powder form or submerging a stick of cinnamon in your coffee makes a nice compliment to the occasional cinnamon baked treat you’re most likely indulging in over the holiday season!