Food doesn't have to taste terrible to be good for us. If you shop at your local farmers market you likely already know just how incredible fresh, local and seasonal ingredients can taste. Those ripe, juicy fruits and vibrant veggies are also chock full of nutritious benefits, too. And they're not the only delicious tasting foods that are good for you. Your spice cabinet may just offer healthy benefits beyond fantastic flavor.
If you've got a palate that doesn't love super spiced up foods, you can still enjoy the benefits of mildly spicing your food, or finding some of these super spices in capsule or tincture form.
We know it as an ingredient in countless foods. It's got a bit of heat and is sweet at the same time. Plus, it can help to reduce cholesterol levels, treat type 2 diabetes and just its scent can boost brain function.
Essential oil of clove is highly effective in keeping gums and teeth healthy. It can reduce tooth pain and may help reduce stomach issues and general muscle pain.
Found predominantly in Indian cuisine, the cardamom pod is known for its ability to thwart digestive issues including nausea, heartburn and even bad breath! Its aroma can relieve depression and anxiety, and the presence of the phytochemicals IC3 (indole-3-carbinol) and DIM (diindolylmethane) give it merit as a cancer preventative.
4. Black Pepper
It's more than just salt's best friend; black pepper improves your digestion, helps to prevent and relieve gas and has potent antibacterial properties. Its floral fragrance (amplified in black pepper essential oil) can boost your mood, especially if you're feeling sluggish or tired. It can also boost circulation.
Most likely the ginger root is no stranger to your plate, bowl or cup. It's a versatile spice that's treasured for its digestive benefits as well as anti-inflammatory effects. It's a lifesaver for those prone to upset tummies, like expectant mothers or the seasick travelers.
Another of India's treasured spices, turmeric has recently revealed itself to be a most potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It can ease all kinds of inflammation related issues in the body from high cholesterol to arthritis and even chronic skin conditions including psoriasis and acne.
Often overshadowed by similar tasting cinnamon, nutmeg is a notable healer in its own right. For insomniacs or those with trouble sleeping, a little nutmeg before bed can be a game-changer. It works on upset tummies, too and can relieve tooth pain (the essential oil). Nutmeg may also help boost libido.
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Image: Canned Muffins