If you cook, there’s a good chance that you have a healthy spice cabinet. Garlic powder, cayenne, cinnamon… all pantry staples. But have you ever considered selecting your spices not just for their flavor, but for their health benefits?
It only makes sense that certain spices would have health benefits. Before modern medicine, people treated all sorts of illnesses with herbs and spices. Did people die more often back then? Absolutely. But some of those treatments really did work!
Here are the top 5 spices that you should have in your spice cabinet at all times, in order to keep yourself healthy and active. These are easy to add to recipes or drinks and will help boost your recovery, immune system, and even reduce your pain!
One Note Before You Continue…
Keep in mind that the quality and freshness of the spices matter! If your bottle of spice has been in the cabinet or on the shelf for a long time, it will be less flavorful and impactful.
If you want to get the most from your spices, you should buy smaller quantities from a health food store or ‘bulk’ section, and store them in airtight containers in a cool, dry place.
Sourcing high-quality spices is not just going to up your cooking game, but you will see some major health benefits!
Rosemary is great on chicken or fish and in stews. But did you realize it can help you with your congestion and allergic reaction?
One of the main ‘ingredients’ in Rosemary is rosmarinic acid, which can help reduce nasal congestion and suppress major allergy symptoms.
Add rosemary to a roasted chicken, in stock that you’re making, let fresh rosemary infuse in olive oil for a delicious addition to a meal, or mix it into softened butter with garlic and other spices for the perfect spread for fresh bread.
Okay, this one should be no surprise to anyone. Ginger has been around for thousands of years and used by countless different cultures for its healing properties.
Ginger’s best-known claim to health fame is its use in treating nausea. There is a reason you’re supposed to drink ginger ale when you’re feeling sick to your stomach, and it’s not just the carbonation.
Ginger may also help reduce inflammation of joints and muscles, therefore reducing the pain in those areas. One study shows that only 2 grams of ginger extract helped reduce colon inflammation as much as the same amount of aspirin.
Add ginger to hot tea with honey, use it in stir fry dishes, or use it in a homemade dressing for a little extra kick.
If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t just eat less. Eat the right things. If you’re looking for a natural appetite suppressant, reach for the cayenne in your cabinet not just for a little kick of spice, but a diet supplement!
Cayenne has been shown to reduce the appetite of those who consume it, which means you’ll eat less and feel less hungry. It’s a very common ingredient in over-the-counter weight loss products or dietary supplements.
There are also some studies that suggest capsaicin, the ‘spicy’ compound in cayenne, can help fight certain forms of cancer, though there is no human study equivalent at the time.
Cayenne goes great in stews, chili, or on all types of meat. You can add a little bit to hot chocolate for a fun kick, too!
Turmeric is another no-brainer on our list, as it’s gained rapid popularity over the last few years for its ability to help reduce inflammation.
Several studies have linked turmeric, and a substance in it called curcumin, to reducing inflammation in the brain. Inflammation in the brain is serious and can contribute to depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
Turmeric seems to also help improve memory, reduce joint pain and swelling, and improve arthritis.
Turmeric is great in curry, but that’s not the only place you can sneak it in. Popular coffee chains are making turmeric lattes for an early morning pick me up, or you can sprinkle it on roasted veggies and add it to your taco spice blend!
Who doesn’t love cinnamon? It’s warm, it’s a little spicy, and it goes great on savory or sweet items. Did you know it can also help lower your blood sugar?
Cinnamon has been shown to lower blood sugar levels in those with type 2 diabetes, as well as reduce high blood cholesterol and high triglyceride levels. If you’re someone who is at risk for heart disease, you should be adding cinnamon to everything.
You can easily incorporate cinnamon in a rub for meats, like pork, burgers, or steak. Sprinkling it on your morning coffee can add a fun and bright flavor. Or add a pinch to your hot cereal for a warm, spiced component.