When I look at my spice cabinet, it’s full of flavorful ingredients that promise to make the most of my meal. That said, there are secret powerhouses behind these doors: a selection of these spices and ingredients have been shown to improve your health, as well as the taste of the meal being prepared. I thought I’d share a few favorites that you can count on to spice up your food while improving your wellness.
This popular addition doesn’t just make the kitchen smell wonderful, it packs your food with powerful properties that aid your health. Those who like garlic will love the benefits it boasts: Garlic is naturally anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, making it an ideal ingredient in soups when our immunity is down. Roasted, sauteed, raw — all garlic is good for your health (though it may be bad for the breath!), and in fact, raw garlic has the best healing properties!
The All-Important Onion
Onions may make you cry as you dice them, but they’ll make your body glow. All types of onions offer up a litany of health benefits. Eat onion to mitigate throat maladies and congestion. Fend off allergies thanks to the onion’s natural antihistamine properties. Or even get your daily dose of Vitamin C from this powerful food. Like garlic, onion goes well with all sorts of meals, from salads to stews.
Cloves are a medicinal spice, and a spice that is especially common in winter and fall foods. If you love clove, you’ll love what this autumnal spice does for your health. Add cloves to teas, soups, and stews to unlock their anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties. You’ll also sooth any indigestion you’re experiencing (which is common around Thanksgiving and the holidays!). Just be sure to soften cloves before eating them, or use them as a flavoring ingredient and remove the cloves themselves before serving a meal — cloves have an especially powerful flavor!
Shaking Things Up With Black Pepper
Black pepper may be the most common spice we use, yet it provides an uncommon amount of benefits. Add a dash of black pepper to your meals to enjoy cleared sinuses and better respiratory health. You’ll also fend off indigestion, help clear out toxins, and boost your metabolism a bit. Black pepper has also been found to aid in weight loss — that’s a powerful spice! From salads to baked sweet potatoes, black pepper goes with just about everything!
Great in tacos, beans, breads, and other delights, cumin doesn’t just add flavor to a meal. Cumin is a great digestive aid, and it’s helpful at relieving stomach aches, bloating, and gas. Add a touch of cumin to curries, chilis, and meals that are otherwise notoriously stomach-turning in order to ensure that you don’t suffer from indigestion.
Anti-Viral Star Anise
Star anise is a flavorful, pungent spice with curative properties. Fend off illness with this powerful seed’s anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and even anti-fungal properties. Star anise has long been used as a cough treatment, and it’s no wonder why this is a popular ingredient in medicinal teas. You can also enjoy star anise after a meal to improve digestion.
Count on Cardamom
Similar to its cousin, ginger, cardamom offers up many malady-mending properties. Though this spice is derived from the seed pods of the plant (instead of the root), it provides the same benefits for your digestive system: settling your stomach, and reducing bloating and gas. In addition, cardamom helps to rid the body of toxins while improving circulation. Seek out cardamom teas, or add this spice to a dish to give it a strong, smoky, somewhat minty flavor.
The Magical Ginger Root
This magical root can get to the root of any number of maladies you may be enduring. Known as a medicinal root, ginger can be one of the best natural cures for indigestion. In addition, ginger may mitigate pain throughout the body, and it may help you to overcome symptoms to illnesses, like the flu. Toss ginger into a stir fry with plenty of veggies, or add a few slivers of ginger to a smoothie for a healthy pick-me-up.
Turmeric to Thrive
Turmeric is a healthy spice, and, thanks to its color, it’s actually common dye! For those who choose to consume this spice (instead of turn their clothes yellow), you’ll enjoy better digestion, better skin health, and an immune-system boost thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric has also been shown to aid weight loss, and it can aid in relieving joint pain in those who suffer from arthritis. Turmeric often goes hand in hand with ginger in spicy foods like curry.
Mother Nature has provided us with it’s own natural pain reliever: lemongrass. This lovely grass species has a flavor that is, as you might guess, reminiscent of lemon. You’ll love the citrusy taste, and your body will reap the benefits every time you reach for this spice. Lemongrass is known to reduce indigestion while improving respiratory and nervous system health. In addition, if you’re suffering from a headache or fever, you can reach to lemongrass for the cure. Lemongrass is common in teas, it can be used in cooking, and it even creates a wonderful oil which can be used topically.
This lovely spice is excellent on oats, in shakes, hot chocolate — you name it. And this delicious treat works wonders for the body. Take advantage of cinnamon to overcome digestion and menstrual cramps. Or use some of this spicy bark to boost your circulation and overcome congestion. This dessert spice doesn’t just have to be for dessert!
We’ve all had the sniffles after a bite of something spicy. The chili in your cabinet does just the same; you can clear up indigestion with a bit of cayenne or chili powder. Plus, these spices are packed with vitamin C. Add cayenne to hummus, load chili powder into, well, chilis. Everyone can use a little more spice in their life!
Nutrition Consulting From LivAgeWell
I hope you’ve enjoyed my suggestions to bring more flavor to your meals while bolstering your health and wellness. If you’re curious about these spices, or food in general, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me, Mani, of LivAgeWell! As a nutrition counselor, we can determine your personal goals for your health, and I’ll work with you to help you achieve those goals. Let’s begin your journey to better wellness together, please feel free to get in touch to get started today!