There is a great new book out about the benefits of Spices titled “The Everything Guide to Spices for Health” by nutritionist and professional naturopath Michelle Robson-Garth.
Written for easy-reading, this book is a great reference for the kitchen as Robson-Garth takes us through a comprehensive look at a good number of different spices, including information about their history, health benefits and cooking ideas.
Here are Robson-Garth’s top 10 reasons we should be including spices in our diet.
- Help bring about healthier and more beautiful skin.
- Aid in the digestion of food.
- Improve appetite.
- Reduce flatulence and bloating.
- Improve the health of the cardiovascular system.
- Easily found at many grocery stores.
- Help expand your palate.
- Improve metabolic health and help in your weigh loss journey.
- Reduce inflammation and body pains.
- Help prevent and recover from the common cold and flu.
The variety of benefits in spices is fairly common knowledge nowadays and pretty well documented in scientific literature as well.
“Studies show that many different herbs and spices offer health benefits,” said professor of medicine and the director of the Center for Human Nutrition at UCLA, David Heber, MD/PhD, speaking to WebMD. He says that much of the scientific evidence on the benefits of spices are on the following: Cinnamon, chili pepper, turmeric, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme and rosemary.
Here are some of the more common, and readily available, spices and how they can benefit your health.
Ginger: Great for nausea and upset stomach. A cup of ginger tea is a great way to boost your mornings.
Turmeric: There is an ingredient in turmeric called curcumin. And according to the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, “Curcumin has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities and thus has a potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, and other chronic illnesses.” If that isn’t a super-spice, we don’t know what is.
Cinnamon: There is evidence that cinnamon can be beneficial for a host of ailments and illnesses, however some experts suggest that more research is needed. Scientists say it may lower blood sugar, and help treat the common cold, loss of appetite, infections and diarrhea.
Cayyenne: While this might be one of the more difficult spices to consume on a regular basis, it might also be one of the more attractive because of evidence that it can contribute to weight loss.
Cardamom: This spice has been known to remove toxins.
Black Pepper: Can help with your cholesterol levels.
Cumin: In addition to helping with the body’s digestive process, cumin has also shown antibacterial properties.
Of course, everything is almost always best in moderation, and the same holds true when it comes to including spices in your diet. And you don’t need a whole lot to benefit from them. You don’t always have to make a South Asian rice and curry meal to get your spices. For most of them, sprinkling a dash onto most foods you eat will help you get a healthy amount into your system.
If you have any specific health conditions or are taking medication, it will always be best to do more research and speak to your doctor before adopting a regular intake of a certain spice.