There are many spices that you eat on a regular basis that are helping you in ways you have never even imagined. Besides supercharging the taste of bland food, certain spices can have a wide range of health benefits, including the following:
Helps to stabilize blood sugar – Some spices can help with regulating blood sugar levels. This reduces the need for more insulin being pumped into your body. This is especially important if you have diabetes. Controlling your blood sugar levels helps to improve your quality of life. As well, when blood sugar levels are controlled, you can burn more fat because those extra calories are not stored as extra weight.
Boosts your metabolism and aids in fat loss – Part of the problem when it comes to being over weight, is you consume more calories than you burn off in a given day. By consuming certain types of spices, you can actually increase the effects of weight loss because they are thermogenic. That means they naturally help to increase or rev up your metabolism, which in turn, helps you with weight loss. Makes sense right?
Anti-fungal and Anti Bacterial – Certain cultures have used herbs and spices for a range of health issues for hundreds or thousands of years. In particular, certain spices and herbs contain properties that help to destroy bacteria and fungi.
Anti-inflammatory Properties – Besides using ice to reduce inflammation in your body, a number of scientific studies have demonstrated that spices and herbs can assist with reducing inflammation.
Are you aware, that certain spices and herbs contain a variety of potent antioxidants? In fact, there are many spices and herbs that even rank higher in what’s called antioxidant activity than many vegetables and fruits.
When looking at the ORAC Value (Oxygen radical absorbance capacity), some spices like, turmeric, cloves and cinnamon. can have as much as 10 to 50 times more antioxidants as measured by the ORAC value when compared to something like blueberries.
Aside from adding tons of flavor, when you combine certain spices with other types of foods, you can actually boost the natural phytonutrients, antioxidants and anti inflammatory properties of food.
Thyme is an ingredient that has been used for years to help with things like sore throats. You will find that many herbalists use this ingredient. In fact, its appeared in everything from cough drops to mouthwashes because of the help it provides in killing bacteria to get rid of odors. From a recent article published in Scientific American, “Thyme Kills Acne Bacteria”, “Natural compounds in the herb thyme were more effective against acne-causing bacteria in cultures than were conventional treatments.” The article goes to say, more scientific study needs to be done in understanding how tinctures work at the molecular level.
This tasty herb is best enjoyed in the fresh form because it contains the most oil and allows you to enjoy the flavor as well. You can also try using thyme oil from a manufacturer.
Ginger is one of the super spices in the opinion of many. In fact, it has over 25 different anti oxidants, which helps in fighting free radical damage in the body. Those who are suffering from motion sickness or nausea, can use ginger to help control your nausea. The best way to get the full effects of ginger is to either eat it plain mixed in with the foods you are eating or by making a tea out of it. Simply pour boiling water over some slices of the root and you will be able to drink the tea. Mix in a little sweetener like honey and lemon, because it can have a bitter taste to it. I’ve actually done this several times. The nice benefit, it doesn’t have any side effects.
You can also try ginger during the flu season or when you have a cold. If using hot or cold water, ensure you let the ginger steep in the water for a few minutes.
From my research, I’ve found that this spice contains one of the highest levels of antioxidants compared with the other spices and herbs. The use of cinnamon has been shown to help with lowering LDL cholesterol from the blood stream. It has also been used to stabilize the blood sugar level, which is a welcome addition to the diet of any diabetic.
In an article published in Webmd.com; “In one study, volunteers ate from 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon for 40 days. One gram of ground cinnamon is about half a teaspoon. Researchers found that cinnamon reduced cholesterol by about 18% and blood sugar levels by 24%.” source:
Note – if you plan on supplementing or changing your diet with a cinnamon supplement, please check with your health care provider first. Especially if you have diabetes or any other health issue.
Rosemary is one of the most powerful herbs because it contains potent anti oxidants and anti inflammatory properties. Not only does rosemary have an effect on the body that increases metabolism in some, it tastes great. As well, rosemary can help strengthen the immune system and help with digestion.
Try it along with a roast or skewer some shrimp with it to get a lot of great flavor. Whenever you are consuming this herb, it is important to remember that a little rosemary goes a long way. It is easy to overdo it with this herb where you do not taste anything in the dish other than the rosemary. Chop up a few leaves in a dressing and you will have a lot of flavor and all of the benefits of the oil.
You have likely tasted turmeric if you had Currie. Its the main spice for Indian curries. The kind of help you will get from turmeric is because of the curcumin that is inside of it. Its the orange-yellow pigment. In addition, Curcumin has been shown to exhibit, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti fungal activities. However, much more scientific work needs to be done.
The National Institutes of Health have a list of 24 current studies to determine the effects of turmeric and its main active component – curcumin. If you would like to read more about Turmeric, then check out Dr. Weil’s article here or you can also read additional information at the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine Here –
Cumin is among the spices that are considered to be especially high in antioxidants. Many know cumin more for the way that it helps to benefit your digestion. Your pancreas is stimulated to increase the amount of bile and enzymes it is producing. This makes it possible to break down foods easier, as well as, to produce the nutrients your body needs in order to function more effectively.
Blood sugar levels can also be maintained when consuming the right levels of cumin, like cinnamon. When blood sugar levels are stable, this can help with weight loss because the body isn’t pumping out additional insulin. Additionally, your immune system will benefit because Cumin is a good source of Vitamin A, C and iron.
People use the oils from cloves, leaves, dried flower buds and stems in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. It contains powerful germicidal and antiseptic qualities, that may aid boosting your metabolism and reducing pain. As well, you can use the oil from cloves to kill bacteria when applied to cuts, fungal infections, scrapes, bites and bruising. It may also reduce blood sugar levels. However, more scientific research needs to be done. Of course, many people simply use cloves in all kinds of culinary dishes.
This spicy pepper has been known to help in a variety of ways. This includes the ability to help with weight loss because it burns the fat in the body faster by increasing the internal temperature within your body.
The pepper is also known to help with reducing LDL blood cholesterol levels in the body. Its also known to an effective anti-inflammatory. The heat of the pepper is a welcome addition to Cajun and southern dishes alike.