Add a Little Spice

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Do you add oregano to your salad or sprinkle cinnamon on your cereal? Adding herbs and spices to your food is one of the easiest ways to enhance flavor without adding calories, sugar, sodium or fat. In addition to being delicious, these types of seasonings provide a variety of health benefits, including protection against diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.

Cinnamon is one of the most commonly used spices in the United States. If you have diabetes, as little as 1.5 teaspoons per day can help to control your blood sugar by enhancing your body’s response to insulin. Cinnamon is high in antioxidants, which can protect your body from developing cancer and heart disease. To incorporate cinnamon into your diet, try sprinkling it on top of oatmeal, Greek yogurt, coffee, or roasted vegetables.

Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It has been used to reduce pain from arthritis and has been helpful in managing diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and cystic fibrosis. Try to incorporate 2 teaspoons per day into your diet by sprinkling on top of lentils, egg salad, casseroles, or popcorn.

Garlic helps to fight off colds, lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Add at least ½ clove to your diet each day to protect your blood vessels from oxidative stress and inflammation. Roast garlic cloves in your oven and serve with fresh bread or sprinkle chopped garlic on top of pasta, stir fry, pizza, tomato sauce, or chicken.

Oregano is packed with antioxidants and is an effective anti-bacterial agent. It has been shown to help to fight off intestinal bacteria. Add 1/8 teaspoon of this tasty spice to your salad or marinara sauce.

Ginger is known to help to settle an upset stomach, alleviate morning sickness, and can help to decrease inflammation and pain. Add ginger and honey to your tea, sprinkle on top of a stir fry, grate on top of cooked carrots, or mix it in with your favorite soup.

Newer studies are showing that dihydrocapsiate, a compound in chili peppers, can help to increase metabolism and enhance your body’s fat burring abilities. In general, foods that are spicier are more satisfying than bland foods, leading people to eat less. Try adding chopped chili peppers to soups, salsa, chili or egg dishes.

Whether you’re interested in boosting the flavor or your food or easing a medical ailment, try incorporating more herbs and spices into your meals. Even a small amount can provide health benefits.