I think we all have learned that the spices we once used rarely are in actuality very, very good for us. Today, I want to point to some of those that I certainly am trying incorporate into my daily diet in my quest for good health.
I’ll admit that it takes a little practice; however, remembering to use them has come to be as naturally as reaching for the salt shaker! As always, what I give you here is simply what I’ve studies or what my nutritionists have taught me and it never intended to be medical advice for you.
1. Turmeric- It is the curcumin found in the turmeric that seems to be one of the newest rock stars in the spice world today. Believed to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin is believed to act upon everything from the common cold to certain types of cancer. If you haven’t already done so, I would suggest some heavy duty research on this particular spice. (I must admit that we take this in supplement form since turmeric is the only spice my husband wants nothing to do with, and the yellow color does stain.)
2. Cinnamon- When I suggest cinnamon, I am talking about Ceylon cinnamon, a powerful tool used in the fight against rising blood sugar without interfering with the proper clotting of blood platelets. Cinnamon is believed to be able to stop the growth of certain bacteria, fungi, and yeast while reducing triglyceride levels and LDL cholesterol. Cinnamon is also a disease-fighting antioxidant. (I actually have begun to use a dash of cinnamon on a lot of my foods as well as in my coffee and hot tea.)
3. Ginger- Ginger is an anti-inflammatory, believed to aid in the fight against heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. It is also high in antioxidants. Of course, I think most of us already know that it is considered a diet aid, soothing to an irritated stomach and helping to fight nausea. (I must admit that ginger (unless it has the word bread after it) is difficult for me to swallow…quite literally, but I am getting better!)
4. Oregano- Oregano has antibacterial properties that many believe can rival some prescription meds. It is also rich in phytonutrients and believed to protect against certain cancers and heart disease. (I use fresh oregano in everything from stir-fry to a green smoothie and have even been known to scramble it into our morning eggs or omelet.)
5. Parsley- Parsley is an herb you really need to research because its benefits are too numerous to list in one short article. Rich in antioxidants, folic acid, Vitamin C, and beta-carotene, parsley is thought to inhibit certain types of tumor growth. (I have had great results by boiling fresh parsley and drinking the water to reduce swelling in the feet and legs.)
6. Sage- Sage has anti–inflammatory properties and is thought to help the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. It is also an antioxidant and is believed to promote cognitive abilities. (I grew up thinking that sage was that black stuff you put in dressing at Thanksgiving. Today, I throw a few fresh leaves into many of our dishes, and I juice with it as well.)
7. Cayenne Pepper- Cayenne pepper comes from red chili peppers which contain capsaicin, an anti-inflammatory compound. Obviously, anything that reduces inflammation also reduces pain and can prevent some cancers. Cayenne pepper is also believed to reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels. (There is some research to suggest that this pepper also helps fight the H. pylori bacteria, which is of special interest to me since I seem to be plagued by this bacteria. I try to use a shot of cayenne at every meal.)
My suggestion would be that you take my word for nothing and do your own research on these herbs and then get busy finding creative ways to add them to your diet.