Are you in a food rut? Trying to be healthy, yet bored by the same old salads and chicken dishes? You may be spice deficient! When food is properly seasoned with spices and salt (the RIGHT kind of salt), the flavor truly transforms. Spices are not just a culinary accent; they also have very powerful health benefits. From turmeric, cinnamon and cayenne pepper to rosemary and oregano, there are many different spices to explore, each with different applications and healing properties.
- Spices are antibacterial, antiviral and antioxidant-rich.
- Use spices to energize, improve brain function, balance cravings, boost immunity, fight inflammation, aid digestion, rev the metabolism and improve circulation.
- Turmeric is one of the best anti-inflammatory spices that’s especially beneficial for lowering joint pain and swelling.
- At Nourished®, we offer six different organic Health-Boosting Seasoning Blends handcrafted from organic herbs and spices. These blends contain up to 43% of your daily recommended intake of anti-aging, energizing and heart-healthy antioxidants!
Spices, which are made from the fruit, flowers, seeds, bark, leaves or roots of plants, have antibacterial and antiviral properties. They contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that energize, improve brain function, balance cravings, boost immunity, fight inflammation, aid digestion, rev the metabolism and improve circulation. In addition, they can be used as a natural preservative, especially rosemary due to its high concentration of antioxidants. The healing properties of spices make them helpful in prevention of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Furthermore, British Medical Journal found that people who consumed spicy food on a daily basis had a 14% lowered risk of death than those who ate spicy foods just once per week.
So, what are the best spices to incorporate into your diet? The top superstars for lowering inflammation, improving digestion and aiding weight loss are listed below:
- Inflammation: Inflammation is the underlying cause of many symptoms, conditions and illnesses, including high cholesterol, arthritis, Crohn’s disease and asthma. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory super food that’s been used in Chinese and Indian pharmacopoeia for thousands of years. Turmeric helps minimize joint pain and inflammation, balances blood sugar, protects against Alzheimer’s and fights obesity by assisting in fat digestion. Studies have shown that curcumin, the main active compound in turmeric, stops the development and progression of cancer. Unfortunately, the medicinal properties of turmeric are very poorly absorbed due to its quick metabolism in the liver and intestines. To increase absorption, combine turmeric with organic black pepper; peperine in black pepper increases turmeric’s bioavailability of curcuminoids by up to 2000%!
- Digestion & Weight Loss: Equally as important as addressing inflammation is supporting a strong digestive system. Eating and being able to efficiently extract nutrients from food is essential to energy, brain power and normal, everyday function. According to the American Nutrition Association, approximately 70,000,000 people suffer with some form of digestive issues on a daily basis. Spices such as ginger, peppermint, coriander, fennel and cumin can also be used as a digestive aid, helping to relieve bloating, gas, stomach aches, cramping, pain, bowel irregularity, acid reflux and other digestive discomfort symptoms. These plants stimulate bile flow, increase enzyme production, improve carbohydrate, protein and fat metabolism, support gut health, and speed transit time in the intestines to encourage regular elimination. Spices such as ginger and cayenne—which are tasty smoothie boosters—are also great for boosting the metabolism and suppressing the appetite, thereby aiding weight loss!
Now that you know what spices to incorporate for a healthier diet, it’s important to note that not all spices are created equal. When purchasing spices, be sure to buy organic, as they’re often heavily sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and other chemicals. Furthermore, seek out smaller bottles rather than buying in bulk. Spices are not like fine wine – their nutritional properties, taste and potency decrease with age; therefore, they are best used within six months of purchase.
Just as eating seasonally is important, using certain spices at different times of the year can help support and balance the body. According to Ayruvedic medicine, each spice has different energetic properties. Varieties such as cayenne pepper, black pepper, ginger and cinnamon are heat producing and thermogenic, and great to use in the cold winter months. They also help stimulate blood flow, boost the metabolism and remove excess water from the tissues which can be helpful for weight loss. On the opposite end of the spectrum, cooling spices such as mint, fennel, cumin and dill help remove excess heat and replenish fluids in the body. These are great for the hot summer months.
If you’re ready to spice up your cooking, stop in our Kitchen Market to check out our Health-Boosting Seasoning Blends. Our six handcrafted blends contain up to 19 different spices that are well-blended to ensure taste, potency and an impressive nutrition profile. Just one teaspoon of our Anti-Inflammatory Seasoning Blend, for example, provides 43% of your daily recommended intake of anti-aging, energizing and heart-healthy antioxidants! Plus, these organic seasonings can be used in a variety of ways—with the easiest being on roasted vegetables, chicken or fish. Don’t wait—leave behind bland and boring and expand your palate while boosting health, digestion and energy with spices!