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Issue 90: Spice It Up!

Super spices and seasonings may just be one of the next health waves and with good reason: they provide significant health benefits. For example, McCormick & Company, Inc., in a recent press release, said that one-teaspoon of ground cinnamon has as many antioxidants as one-half cup or raspberries or strawberries.

Dr. Glen Aukerman, medical director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at Ohio State University Medical Center adds that cinnamon can also support healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels, and it has also been shown to be effective in weight management.

But cinnamon’s not the only spice with health benefits. Nutmeg and ginger are known for their roles in supporting digestive health. Ginger can also support healthy levels of inflammation and may support heart, brain, and cellular health. Gingerol is the active ingredient in ginger and it is said to promote healthy blood vessels and healthy blood flow.

And while we’re at it…Did you know that one-half teaspoon of oregano packs as much antioxidant power as three cups of fresh spinach? It’s true. In fact, on a per gram basis, fresh oregano is said to have 42 times more antioxidant power than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges, and 4 times more than blueberries. Interestingly, two compounds in oregano—thymol and carvacrol—are also potent fighters against unwanted bacteria.

And let’s not forget about garlic and rosemary. Garlic supports muscle and joint health as well as healthy blood pressure levels, while rosemary serves up some antioxidants to support heart health, according to Aukerman.

Fennel (anise) may support immune health; cayenne pepper and turmeric (cumin) can help support healthy inflammation levels. Curcumin is what gives turmeric its yellow coloration and appears to be what actively gives turmeric its anti-inflammatory properties.

Sage is another seasoning that is a powerful antioxidant. It, too, has the ability to support healthy inflammation levels. As a point of interest, sage contains flavonoids, phenolic acids and oxygen-handling enzymes, which help prevent the damage incurred by free radicals. In so doing, sage may support joint, artery, brain and bronchial health.

Tasting the power of red—red chili peppers, that is—can benefit health. These hot peppers contain capsaicin, which helps to support healthy inflammation levels. Other benefits of red chili peppers include: supporting immunity, digestive health, cellular health, heart health and weight management.

Likewise, parsley is a rich source of antioxidants including vitamin C, beta-carotene and folic acid. So be sure to add this spice to the mix.

An article in the Mayo Clinic Health Letter also applauds the health benefits of spices. It says that allspice, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, oregano, sage, thyme and turmeric powder are all high in antioxidant content. “These plant chemicals may play a role in supporting health—including cellular health, heart health and brain health.”

Wow. No wonder people are spicing it up!

 

This information is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of an individual consultation or examination or replace the advice of your health care professional and should not be relied upon to determine diagnosis or course of treatment.


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