Spice Up Your Health: Why You Need To Be Using These Spices Every Day
When most people wander the aisles of the local grocer and walk past the spice section, they don’t really know what they’re looking at. Those jars of red and brown powders might appear to be something scooped off the surface of mars and put in a bottle. But there are a lot of reasons to become familiar with spices. Not only can you use them to make restaurant quality meals at home, you can actually improve your health.
To get you started, I’ve briefly outlined a few of my favorite spices to use in my kitchen and some of the benefits of them. I encourage all to start small, experiment with a few spices you enjoy, and start spicing your way to better health!
Often used as a sprinkle across hot chocolate or a dessert, nutmeg can actually be used in a variety of ways. In parts of Europe and Asia, nutmeg is actually used on relatively bland vegetables like potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Not only does it add a great flavor to your dishes though, it also is metabolized in the body as Magnesium, deficient in the diets of many of us.
One of my absolute favorite spices to use and an essential in most chili and soup recipes, Cumin is a natural mild antibacterial and antiviral. It can aid with healthy digestion and definitely spice up a dish. My favorite use is in homemade taco seasoning. Mixed with a little onion powder, chili powder, garlic salt, and pepper, cumin can help put to shame any of the prepackaged taco seasonings you can buy. Give it a try next time you’re in the spice aisle to make you feel one step closer to spice mastery and better health.
Used hand-in-hand with cumin, I find chili powder an essential part of some of my spicier dishes. Try adding a sprinkle to some roasted potatoes for a nice slow warmth and heat. And take heart, this lively spice is known to be very beneficial to cardiovascular health, among other things.
Primarily used in Southeast Asia for both meat and vegetable dishes, turmeric adds a wonderful and very distinct flavor to most anything. Medically, turmeric is being evaluated for its potential beneficial effects on everything from kidney and cardiovascular disease to cancer.
From a branch of a tree to your French toast and cookies, cinnamon is shown to be one of the most beneficial spices you can have around. It can lower blood sugar levels, reduce heart disease risk factors and has a great deal of other impressive abilities. To try more cinnamon in your diet, experiment with a little on sweet potato, squash, or carrot sides.
Known for centuries to help settle a stomach, ginger has a plethora of uses in the kitchen. The first time I had it raw with sushi I thought it tasted a little like lemon furniture polish, but give it a try. When used properly, ginger can add a wonderful pop to salads, meats, poultry, you name it.
Not as easy to find and rather expensive, cardamom is a beautiful and complex spice often used in teas and breads. Its health benefits include gastrointestinal protection, cholesterol control, cardiovascular health, and is even being evaluated to control cancer.