Spices take your food to the next level. A meal that is seasoned properly is light-years away from a bland meal. And you don’t need to spend money on exotic spices from the far corners of the world to reap some amazing health benefits. Many common spices that people take for granted contain powerful nutrients that can benefit the skin, improve arterial health, aid with weight loss, and prevent oxidative stress.
Because spices are small and not on every superfood list like kale, beets, or spirulina, their health benefits often get overlooked by a lot of people. Let us let you in on a little secret: Herbs and spices have been around for centuries and have been revered for their healing properties! Let the following spices prove the truth of that statement.
This spice can actually help to keep you warm on a raw food diet. The active ingredient, capsaicin, in cayenne helps to fight inflammation, improve digestion, and boost circulation. Additionally, cayenne pepper works to boost the body’s metabolic rate, helping to burn more calories.
One tablespoon of fresh oregano has comparable antioxidant activity to a medium apple. That same tablespoon has four times more antioxidants than blueberries, which are antioxidant superstars. All of this means that oregano helps to fight free radicals, prevent cell damage, and reduce your risk of heart disease. Oregano also contains phytonutrients that fight infection.
This versatile spice makes everything nice! It contains antiseptic, anti-clotting, and cholesterol lowering properties, and the polyphenols work to regulate blood sugar levels. Additionally, the anti-inflammatory properties in cinnamon have been known to combat allergy symptoms by reducing inflammation and fighting histamine reactions.
It’s about time that you got some thyme in your kitchen! Rich in potassium, iron, vitamins A & C, and calcium, thyme has been used for its healing properties since the days of Ancient Egypt. Several studies on rats with high blood pressure have shown that thyme can help to regulate heart rate, in addition to lowering cholesterol levels. It has also been known to boost the immune system and aid with red blood cell formation.
Rosemary is a staple herb in the Mediterranean diet, and for good reason! The antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties help to promote circulation and boost the immune system. Rosemary is also a known memory booster, several studies revealing its ability to increase cognitive activity in those with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
There’s a saying about sage: “Who has sage in the garden does not need a doctor.” This ancient herb has been used as a natural disinfectant, but it has also been used to stop bleeding and to relieve gastric pain. A lesser-known fact about sage is that you can rub fresh sage leaves on your teeth to naturally whiten them. You can also swish lukewarm sage tea in your mouth to freshen your breath and help prevent cavities.
Turmeric is the golden spice that keeps on giving. The active ingredient, curcumin, has undergone a multitude of studies because of its ability to help reduce inflammation, boost cognitive function, and naturally soothe an upset stomach. Some research has also indicated that curcumin may help to fight cancerous cells, specifically those in breast tissue, the colon, and prostate.
Make sure to have these spices in your kitchen so you can season your food and reap all of their health benefits!