Historically, spices were relied upon for medicinal properties, food preservation and flavoring. Many folklore remedies originated with holistic healers who relied on plant-based ingredients to heal, supplement and maintain overall health. Some spices provide nutritious plant phytonutrients and potent antioxidants, while others supply antibacterial, antiviral or antifungal abilities. With just a shake or dash of these five essential spices you could just strengthen your health.
5 Healthy Spices
- Oregano-The earthy flakes of oregano, a mint-family relation originating from the Mediterranean, is loaded with potent dietary antioxidantsand anti-bacterial benefits. Its aromatic and flavorful essence helps protect cells against the effects of free radicals. Give extra shakes of oregano to food to boost immunity.
- Cinnamon- This dusty brown powder from the inner bark of trees, used whole stick or ground to a powder, is a tasty antioxidant with antimicrobial properties. According to research studies in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, cinnamon can assist in reducing blood sugar levels, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes. Stir in lattes and oatmeal or dash over sweet potatoes and French toast for a savory taste without the guilt of adding sugar.
- Rosemary– This mint family relative with fragrant needles packs a healthy punch as an antibacterial and antioxidant with anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and antiseptic properties. Recently, studies published in Therapeutic Advances in Pharmacology revealed these properties improved both immune system and blood circulation. The intoxicating scent also raised concentration and performance. Cooking and baking with fresh or dried rosemary adds a delicious dimension to bread dough, soups, and chicken dishes; or drop a spring of rosemary in a refreshing glass of lemonade or grapefruit juice.
- Ginger - Chinese and Indian (Ayurvedic) medicine has depended upon ginger for over 2,000 years as an antidote to reduce inflammation and infection as well as relieve muscle aches and pains. Western alternative practioners prescribe ginger to ease digestion and treat gastrointestinal upsets such as diarrhea and nausea. Drinking ginger-based potables such as a steeping cup of tea or blended in a smoothie or juice, aids in smoother digestion. Ginger adds bite to salad dressing, stir-fry and gingerbread cookies.
- Sage – This sister to rosemary with furry-like leaves, was a staple in traditional indigenous medicine. It was originally used to treat snakebite and ease digestion. It further served as a stimulant, diuretic and an expectorant. Recent studies revealed sage is power packed with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties that contribute to strengthening immunity and cognitive abilities. Sage advice: season meats and marinades for a light lemony flavor and a bump of protection.
So check your kitchen cabinet and add a little (or a lot) of spice to your day!