Cinnamon, peppermint, and turmeric are among the spices that have been praised for having medicinal properties and are said to possess powerful antioxidants, help support the body’s response to inflammation, help reduce pain, and even increase metabolism. While these are just some of the more popular trending healthy spices, there are several more that are less well known I want to introduce you to.
5 Common Spices With Powerful Benefits
Rosemary is one of those herbs that is easily identified not just by its sprig-like leaves, but by its distinctive piney aroma. It is not surprising to learn that rosemary is a byproduct of the evergreen tree, but it is also in the mint family.
Rosemary is not only a great ingredient to use in dishes containing white meats, such as chicken, lamb, pork, and even fish, it is said to help support the body’s healthy response to inflammation. As we enter into cold and flu season, this could be one to stock up on as including rosemary in your diet may also help suppress allergy symptoms and reduce nasal congestion.
In 2001, sage was named “Herb of the Year,” yet despite this honorable title, the mention of and use of sage in recipes has died down since then. Sage is actually closely related to rosemary, and its name has been derived from salvere, which means “to be saved.”
Research has indicated that sage may have the potential to decrease the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease, as it has been shown to improve brain function and memory. Studies have also shown promising results in sage’s ability to inhibit the breakdown of acetylcholine, which may help improve cognitive function not just in older individuals by for people of all ages.
Time to kick things up a bit…
You may think you already know the main benefit of adding this ingredient into your recipe as it’s known for its appetite control and fat-burning effects. While those things are true, there is so much more to this spicy little hot pepper.
To provide you with some science behind the weight-loss effects, there is an actual study that found adding just one gram of cayenne pepper provided enough capsaicin to have reported appetite reduction and fat-burning effects.
This same amount of capsaicin has been said to show favorable improvements in types of health issues of the liver, lung, and prostate.
Aside from Ginger being the name of my dachshund that recently passed away after a full 19 years of life, ginger is a root that has been used for treating nausea for many years (think Ginger Ale). In fact, studies have shown one gram of ginger may successfully relieve nausea.
If that wasn’t impressive enough, studies have also shown ginger may have pain management benefits, especially after an intense workout or exercise-induced muscle injury.
Another study made up of participants who had the genetic marker for colon cancer found consuming two grams of ginger per day (instead of an aspirin) showed decreased markers for colon inflammation.
Bonus Spice: Black Pepper
This is one of the staple spices and is usually used simultaneously with salt. We will have to save the salt discussion/debate for an article all by itself; however, black pepper is not just applied to foods “to taste.”
There are many colors of peppercorns—white, green, red, pink, and black, with black being the most flavorful, which explains why it adorns dining tables worldwide. What you may not know is that black pepper is a natural digestive aid and also contains antioxidant and antibacterial properties.
If you have a choice between already ground pepper or freshly cracked pepper, always opt for freshly cracked. The outer part of the peppercorn may help to stimulate fat cells and allow you to burn some additional energy.
The Spice(s) of Life
Spices not only provide the “spice of life” by adding so much flavor to our foods, but as you can see here, they have numerous other health benefits. As usual, I do want to remind you that this article is for information purposes only. Please do not use it to replace medical advice or treatment, especially if you have an underlying medical condition.
That being said, as you increase the flavor in your foods, enjoy the fact that you might just be increasing the health-promoting effects of your food at the same time. I know I’ll be sprinkling on the spices even more liberally now!