Good Health off the Rack…The Spice Rack
Eighty percent of all people use plants as medicine to treat everything from digestive distress and fever to muscle pain and asthma, according to the World Health Organization. Did you know that eating spices like garlic, ginger or paprika can reduce the number of free radicals in your body? Free radicals are organic molecules responsible for aging, tissue damage, and possibly some diseases. These molecules are very unstable and look to bond with other molecules, destroying their health and further continuing the damaging process. Antioxidants, found in many spices and herbs, are molecules that prevent free radicals from harming healthy tissue.
Research is still going on to determine what spices have definitive effects on our health, but here’s what we know so far:
- Capsaicin, the compound that gives chili pepper its heat, may boost metabolism, increasing our ability to burn calories and suppress appetite.
- A half-teaspoon of cinnamon daily may help control blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in people with type 2 diabetes, according to a 2013 study.
- Some evidence suggests that sage may improve cognitive performance in those with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. It may also boost memory in healthy, young adults.
- Research suggests that curcumin, a substance that gives turmeric its yellow color, may ease osteoarthritis symptoms and slow the growth of certain cancer cells.
There are even more spices that may be helpful for digestion, boosting immunity, PMS, and other conditions. Try adding fennel, parsley, coriander or cloves to your next kitchen masterpiece to help you improve your health while boosting the flavor. Oregano is among the highest in antioxidants of any dried herbs and it infuses tons of flavor into everyday foods. This herb is a rich source of dietary fiber and one of the cornerstones of a healthy Mediterranean diet along with other herbs, olive oil, fish, greens and veggies.
There are a number of delicious foods you can eat for the sake of your health, but some people don’t think healthy foods taste good. Using herbs and spices can transform a meal without adding calories and packing the additional punch of improving health.