The Best Spices for Your Diet

A tiny amount of spice can drastically change the flavor and aroma of food, boost your appetite, and increase your desire to dive right in! Read on to learn the best spices to include in your diet.

Spices have long been used to enhance the taste of different dishes. They have also been used for their various medicinal properties.

Depending on their country of origin, almost all spices have been used in traditional medicine to treat different ailments.

With modern research, spices have indeed been proven to provide more than the good taste and smell. What’s even better, you can easily find most spices in your nearby health store or grocery.

That makes it essential to be intentional when choosing your spices. Because maybe like me you want the health benefits too.

Here are the best spices to include in your diet

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a universal spice commonly used in a diversity of dishes and baked goods.

There are two types of cinnamon, namely Ceylon or true cinnamon and Cassia.

Ceylon is considered the best to consume since its low in coumarin compared to Cassia. Coumarin is a natural compound in cinnamon believed to be harmful in high doses. According to research, high amounts of coumarin may cause liver damage and increase cancer risk.

Cassia cinnamon is cheaper and the most common in supermarkets. You can still get Ceylon in health food stores or even Amazon, just that it may be a bit expensive.

Either way, both types can serve the purpose, but you need to take minimal amounts of cassia cinnamon.

Cinnamon benefits

It’s high in cinnamaldehyde, a compound associated with its flavor and most of its benefits.

Cinnamon is well known in the health and wellness industry as a natural supplement to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin resistance. This makes it an excellent addition for anyone with insulin resistance or diabetes.

Other benefits include:

  • Offering antioxidant benefits
  • Preventing inflammation
  • Lowering bad cholesterol and triglycerides thus promoting heart health
  • It may protect against cancer
  • It helps fight fungal and bacterial infections, including those
  • Fights against neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • Fights bad breath
  • Supports joint health

How to use cinnamon?

  • Make tea
  • Sprinkle on baked vegetables or fruit
  • Include in your apple
  • Add to puddings and other desserts
  • Include in curry recipes
  • Add to oatmeal or cereal
  • Sprinkle on pancakes
  • Add to your morning smoothie

Turmeric

Turmeric is the golden spice that gives curry its yellow color. It’s also used to flavor and color mustards, cheeses, and butter.

Like cinnamon, it has both culinary and medicinal properties, thanks to curcumin, its active ingredient.

Curcumin is a potent antioxidant that helps fight oxidative damage that may cause premature signs of aging and chronic conditions.

It’s also a strong anti-inflammatory, with some studies suggesting that it can match some anti-inflammatory drugs.

Other benefits of including turmeric in diet include:

  • Improved brain function
  • Relieves arthritis
  • Increases antioxidant capacity in the body
  • May lower your risk of heart disease
  • May reduce your cancer risk
  • It may be helpful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s
  • It may help fight depression
  • May fight against aging and age-related chronic conditions

How to use turmeric in the kitchen

  • Add to scrambles
  • Add to rice
  • Toss with roasted vegetables
  • Add to soups
  • Make tea
  • Blend with smoothies

Note: For better absorption of turmeric, always pair it with black pepper

Ginger

Ginger is a common household ingredient in most homes. While some people may enjoy it in lemon water, some may like it more when added to smoothies, juice, cooked with food, or everything altogether.

It’s commonly known to alleviate nausea, including that from morning sickness, chemotherapy, and post-operative.

It also offers anti-inflammatory properties and may help in the management of pain.

Ginger may also:

  • Prevent bad breath and improve oral health
  • Soothe sore muscles
  • Ease arthritis symptoms
  • Lower blood glucose
  • Curb cancer growth
  • Ease menstrual pain
  • Relieve indigestion

How to use ginger?

  • Make ginger tea
  • Include in marinades
  • Add to smoothies
  • Toss in your stir-fry
  • Bake gingerbread
  • Prepare ginger soup
  • Use it as a seasoning for different dishes.

Note: Use ginger at the beginning for a mild flavor or at the end of your cooking for a more pungent taste.

Garlic

Throughout history, garlic was mainly used for its medicinal properties.

Allicin is the main active ingredient and the one responsible for its sharp smell.

It’s known to combat different diseases, including common cold

Research also shows that garlic supplementation may reduce LDL and total cholesterol by 10-15 percent.

Here are other benefits of garlic in the diet

  • It may lower your blood pressure
  • May help fight inflammation
  • May reduce blood clotting
  • It’s rich in antioxidants
  • It has a great taste
  • May reduce your risk of heart disease
  • Anti-viral
  • Supports immune function
  • Anti-fungal
  • Anti-bacterial

How to use garlic?

  • As a flavoring in various foods: Marinades, sauces, salad dressing, meats, vegetables, stews, vegetables, and vinaigrettes.
  • Include garlic in hummus.
  • Make garlic toast.

Cayenne

Cayenne is a hot chili belonging to the capsicum family.

It’s a popular spice used to enhance the flavor of different recipes like soups, stews, and stir fry and its medicinal properties.

Cayenne pepper can be used as a supplement. In this form, cayenne is often taken in capsules or mixed in water.

It has a rich nutritional profile with numerous health benefits.

  • May boost metabolism
  • May lower blood pressure
  • Can lower feelings of hunger
  • May improve digestive health
  • Possibly lowers cancer risk
  • May relieve pain
  • Improves circulation

Final thoughts on the best spices?

Spices are an incredible addition to your kitchen cabinet. They are rich in powerful compounds that enhance the taste and aroma of food.

The best spices to include in your kitchen include cinnamon, turmeric, garlic, ginger, and cayenne pepper, among others.

These spices are easy to incorporate into different recipes and are available in any food store and grocery.

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