Sometimes it’s the little things we do every day that add up to huge benefits for our health. If you aren’t using at least two of these five spices almost every day now is the time to start!
5 Spices You Should Be Cooking With Every Day: by Kelli Shallal, RD, MPH – Hungry Hobby.
Turmeric is an ancient spice used traditionally in China and India to add flavor to dishes as well as provide medicinal properties. Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, known to be a potent anti-inflammatory. Studies have demonstrated curcumin’s potential therapeutic effects in a number of different conditions including inflammatory bowel disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, and cystic fibrosis. It may also slow tumor growth or prevent tumor formation.
How to use it: Turmeric can be bought as turmeric root or in powder form. It is virtually tasteless unless used in very large quantities in which it is a bit spicy. Add ¼ to ½ tsp. it to smoothies, oatmeal, or sprinkle on eggs in the morning. You can also sprinkle it on veggies, onto your salad, or bake it with meats or poultry.
Cinnamon is also touted for its strong anti-oxidant count and ability to decrease inflammation. However, cinnamon is also uniquely known for its ability to promote insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance is a contributing factor in many metabolic conditions, particularly diabetes and polycystic ovary syndrome. Improving sensitivity to insulin helps the body better manage glucose in the blood-stream. In addition, cinnamon may actually decrease the amount of sugar that enters the blood-stream by interacting with enzymes that break down carbohydrates into sugar. Cinnamon adds a tone of sweetness to any dish so you actually use less sugar in recipes and meals.
How to use it: Cinnamon can be added by ¼ to 1tsp at a time to morning foods like yogurt, oatmeal, and smoothies. You can also add it to baked goods or sprinkle it over coffee grounds to brew cinnamon flavored coffee.
Ginger is thought of as the go to digestive aid spice. It is known to relieve symptoms such as nausea, heartburn and bloating. Recent research is showing that this spices medicinal properties may go beyond indigestion. Preliminary research supports dramatic reductions in pain post workout and during a woman’s menstrual cycle. In addition, a 2015 study reported dramatic reductions in hbA1c and better blood sugar control in diabetics.
How to use it: Ginger is a nice touch to add to smoothies and a popular component in green juice recipes, but beware, it has a strong spicy flavor. It generally pairs well with soy sauce like dishes such as stir-frys.
It’s no secret that garlic is one of the world’s tastiest healthy foods, but did you know that crushing fresh garlic and letting it sit prevents antioxidants from being destroyed during the cooking process? Garlic has numerous health benefits but is known for its protective effects on the cardiovascular system. It actually contains compounds that protect LDL cholesterol from being oxidized. Oxidized LDL is the type of cholesterol that damages blood vessels and causes plaque build up. Garlic can be found in fresh or powdered form but to get the most benefit utilize the fresh stuff. In fact, two cloves a week might be enough to decrease cancer risk.
How to use it: Use fresh garlic to cook with any savory dish, homemade salsas, hummus and dips are delicious ways to get use garlic.
When you think chili peppers you might initially think about their ability to boost metabolism, but did you know they have many other health benefits? Capsaicin, chili peppers active ingredient, is touted with decreasing inflammation, providing topical pain relief, and promoting cardiovascular health.
How to use it: Most of the capsaicin in chili peppers is found in the seeds or fleshy white membranes of the pepper. Capsaicin adds health benefits but also adds a ton of heat and spice. You’ll want to tailor how much seed and membrane of a chili pepper you include to your spicy tolerance level. Chili peppers make a great addition to any savory dish but you can also get creative. Add them to yogurt for a dip or sweet foods for some kick!
Be Well & THRIVE!
Kelli Shallal MPH, RD, owner of Hungry Hobby LLC provides virtual and local one on one nutrition counseling emphasizing a holistic view point and intuitive eating principles. In addition, she regularly appears in the media, provides brand representation and dynamic group presentations. If you are interested in working with her check out her nutrition services website at www.hungryhobbyrd.com. She is also the author of Hungry Hobby and healthy living blog with an emphasis on healthy recipes, quick workouts as well as health tips. Follow her on instagram, pinterest, and facebook for more healthy living tips.