Spices Part 1: Spice Up Your Health

As anyone who spends a few minutes with me can tell you, I often talk about the benefits of fruits and vegetables. But another great (and simple) way to infuse your food with nutrients is through herbs and spices. These food “enhancers” also enhance your life, packing a lot of vitamins, minerals, and health benefits in just a pinch.

To reduce inflammation: Inflammation is a key contributor to heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and joint pain, so reducing inflammation is important to your health. According to a study cited in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, the herbs and spices that best reduce or suppress inflammation and protect against damage are:

• Cloves
• Ginger
• Rosemary
• Turmeric
• Paprika
• Sage
• Cumin

Spices Part 1: Spice Up Your Health

Of all the spices listed above, turmeric is a health superstar! That’s because it contains curcumin, an antioxidant compound found in the root of the turmeric plant. Years of studies continue to show that turmeric helps to:

• Protect brain function
• Reduce the risk of memory loss
• Aid digestive and cardiovascular health
• Improve the immune system
• Prevent the growth of certain cancer cells
• Improve liver function
• Reduce cholesterol level
• Reduce joint pain and improve flexibility (especially in arthritis sufferers)
• Serve as a natural antibiotic, inhibiting the growth of bacteria

What’s the best way to get all the health benefits of turmeric? Scientists note that combining black pepper with turmeric increases the amount of curcumin your body can absorb. Delicious Indian and Thai recipes often contain both. So mix the two spices when you’re cooking with turmeric.

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