When I first got married my husband thought all spices and herbs were bad for you. He didn’t want me to use any, thinking that they were just like table salt. As an Italian I always have cooked with many seasonings, spices, and herbs. After a few years my husband has realized that spices and herbs are not created equal with table salt, not even close!
Did you know that you could have health boosting herbs and spices at arms reach in your kitchen every day? There are many spices and herbs that have healing properties as well as other health benefits. It’s super easy too. All you need is to buy are dried spices and herbs and keep them in your cupboard. Every day when you cook, these super spices will be readily available to boost your meals health benefits.
Here’s what’s in my kitchen:
Turmeric– This spice is a super food that has been used in India for the healing properties. This well-known seasoning can aid almost every organ in your body. It has been known to help prevent Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and depression. You can start using this spice by adding it to soups or stir-fry dishes.
Cayenne Pepper- Who doesn’t like a little hot spice in their food? I add cayenne pepper to just about everything. This fiery pepper has been known to help suppress hunger, speed up your metabolism, and support a healthy heart. Did you know that spicy foods trigger a chemical called capsaicin that releases endorphins that uplift our mood? No wonder I’m always happy. You can sprinkle this on any warm dish but be careful it is spicy!
Paprika- I’ve been using paprika seasoning for years. This spice is easy to add to any dish, as the flavor is not too strong. Paprika is a great source of Vitamin A. The deep red color from the health boosting carotenoids, provide added health benefits of lutein and zeaxanthin, which promote healthy eyes as well as healthy cell development. All you need is one tablespoon to get the benefits of this super spice. Try adding it to your guacamole, soups, or any other warm dishes.
Fresh or Dried Basil– Basil is a staple in the Italian kitchen. This green herb provides good sources of vitamin A, vitamin K, and vitamin C. Basil also contains omega-3-fatty acids, which boost heart health. It can be difficult to get fresh basil, especially in the winter months. You can substitute with dried basil. You are getting the same health benefits but in smaller quantities. I enjoy basil in my pasta, soup, and for a pizza topping.
Black pepper- Black pepper is a popular spice used in our American culture. It’s easy to find and can be used for almost any meal. Black pepper can aid in digestive and intestinal health. This pepper also has cancer-fighting properties and is increased when combined with turmeric. The amazing antioxidants help remove free radicals, which rid your body of disease and prevent pre-mature aging. Black pepper contains a good source of manganese, vitamin K, iron, and calcium. This special pepper also has a good source of dietary fiber. The best way to consume black pepper is buying peppercorns and grinding them yourself. Add to any of your favorite dishes.
Cinnamon- Cinnamon is great at stabilizing your blood sugar levels. Cinnamon contains super antioxidants that aid in stabilizing insulin and glucose. It also is a great anti-inflammatory. Cinnamon can also help control your cholesterol levels and blood pressure. I love to sprinkle cinnamon on my oatmeal or gluten free pancakes.
Fresh or Powdered Garlic-You have heard that garlic is a super food. It contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and cancer fighting components. Garlic contains Allicin which provides many antioxidant benefits such as anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Garlic can boost your immune system and prevent aging. The great anti-inflammatory benefits boost heart health by clearing your arteries and plaque buildup. Garlic can also stabilize cholesterol levels. Studies have shown that the antibacterial properties of garlic can block the growth of cancer cells and enhance DNA repair. Fresh garlic has more health benefits than powdered ginger however; in a pinch using powder ginger is still beneficial. You can add garlic to almost any type of food such as soups, pastas, and meats.
Fresh or Powdered Ginger- I love ginger. It has so many great health benefits. Some of my favorite reasons to incorporate ginger in my cooking are great digestive aid and anti-inflammatory proprieties. The digestive benefits of ginger may help combat nausea or morning sickness. This special spice helps you break down food easier which in turn prevents gas and other stomach discomfort. The anti-inflammatory benefits can aid in reducing inflammation in your body as well as provide comfort from a cold. Both fresh and powdered ginger provide about the same nutritional value. In fact, some research has shown that powdered ginger stimulates blood circulation. You can easily add some to soups, stir-fry’s, or tea.
I hope you have learned more about the great benefits of spices and herbs. There are so many easy and fast ways to incorporate these super foods in your favorite dishes. What’s in your kitchen cupboard?
To learn more about super foods and eating healthy go to www.HealthWithErin.com