Staying healthy doesn’t have to be a costly or time-consuming endeavor. In fact, it can be as simple as shaking some spices into your meal each day. We know that fruits and veggies have tons of nutrients important for your health, and that’s also true for spices easily found in grocery stores. Here are seven common spices to start adding to your daily routine.
A bright yellow-orange spice, turmeric has been used in India for its healing properties for thousands of years. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric, which is said to have strong anti-inflammatory qualities – vital for fighting chronic low-level inflammation linked to many illnesses. Other benefits are linked to antioxidants, heart health, and arthritis relief. Typical ways to ingest turmeric include curry, roasted vegetables, and golden milk lattes. Add black pepper to significantly increase absorption of curcumin, and beware that turmeric stains easily.
Cinnamon isn’t just a spice found in apple oatmeal packets or on the coffee shop counter. The spice is a powerful antioxidant, meaning it helps protect your body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals (believed to play a role in diseases and cancer). Cinnamon also helps lower blood sugar, is anti-inflammatory, and may curb neurodegenerative diseases and fight infections. There are countless ways to add cinnamon into your daily life; simply add some to your smoothies, yogurt, and coffee, or sprinkle on apple slices.
If you typically reach for a ginger ale when you have an upset stomach, head to your spice cabinet for ground ginger instead. Ginger has numerous beneficial qualities; some being that it may lower the risk of diabetes, relieve menstrual pain, nausea, and stomachaches, and help prevent inflammation. While you can buy the root and eat it raw, you can still get the root’s stellar benefits by adding the powdered ginger to smoothies, soups like carrot or chicken, or in hot tea.
For those who like their food spicy, cayenne pepper is an ideal spice to add to dishes. Cayenne peppers have an active ingredient called capsaicin, which provides numerous benefits such as boosting your metabolism, lowering blood pressure, aiding in digestive health, and relieving pain. It also may help improve psoriasis. Add cayenne to just about anything you cook – baked potatoes, roasted broccoli, and chicken breasts are some favorites.
Although technically a plant closely related to onions, garlic powder is a stellar addition to your spice rack. Its health benefits come from sulfur compounds created when a clove of garlic is chopped, crushed, or chewed. It’s perhaps most known to help prevent and cure common colds, but it also may reduce blood pressure and improve cholesterol. Whether you choose to roast garlic whole with proteins, sprinkle veggies and potatoes with garlic powder, or even cut raw garlic and swallow with some honey, you’ll be receiving its benefits.
Adding a nutty, earthy flavor to primarily Mexican and Middle Eastern dishes, Cumin is a staple spice for many. But it delivers far more than just a great taste, as it offers several health benefits. Increased digestion, improved cholesterol levels, relief for irritable bowel syndrome, and helping treat diabetes are some of the reported benefits of cumin. Try adding it to black bean soup, curries, and meats.
Nutty, woody, and bittersweet, nutmeg is used in both sweet and savory dishes, such as pumpkin pie and alfredo sauce. It’s sold in both whole seeds and ground powder form, and both options provide an array of benefits. Nutmeg contains powerful antioxidants, can help lower inflammation, and reportedly has antibacterial properties.