It’s important to know which spices do what! Below are my favorite spices, listed by health benefit:
➢ To lower blood sugar: Cinnamon. ¼ to ½ teaspoon of cinnamon twice a day can lower your triglycerides and blood sugar.
➢ To get well faster: Garlic. Fresh garlic or garlic powder does more than add great flavor; garlic is a natural antibiotic, so if you are around people who are sick, or you feel under the weather, add a little extra to your recipes! To get the greatest benefits, chop garlic and let it sit for 15 minutes before cooking. (This lets the active form of phytochemicals develop, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.)
➢ To relieve an upset stomach and reduce pain from arthritis: Ginger. Use fresh ginger in recipes and smoothies; dried as a tea (particularly good for stomach distress) or in an extract form, available at health food markets.
➢ To increase your body’s antioxidant activity: Oregano. According to a study by the USDA, oregano has the highest antioxidant activity of the 27 fresh herbs the organization tested.
➢ To help prevent memory loss: Sage. (Sage tea also soothes sore throat pain.) Turmeric is also an excellent memory protector.
➢ To increase mental clarity: Rosemary. (Rosemary also fights food-borne bacteria.)
➢ To boost your metabolism: Red Chili Pepper. Yes, it's a temporary boost, but chili pepper can also help you feel more satiated.
➢ To improve mood (and help alleviate PMS symptoms): Saffron. Steep in hot water for a "saffron tea" or use it to season soup, quinoa or brown rice.
➢ To inhibit breast-cancer cell growth: Parsley. According to a study from the University of Missouri, add 1 to 2 teaspoons a day.
➢ To enhance flavor healthfully, try:
• Coconut Aminos, a great replacement for soy sauce.
• Tahini, a great source of calcium! Tahini is made from ground sesame and has a consistency similar to almond butter. It makes an excellent dip for veggies and a tasty spread for crackers/rice cakes. You’ll find it in the ethnic aisle of your grocery store.
Spicing up your diet is an easy way to enhance your life and add flavor to your foods without adding calories, fat, sugar or sodium.