The Health Benefits of Spices

*Originally posted in 2010

There are many health benefits to adding culinary herbs, spices and flavours to your cooking. Yes, eating natural food is wonderful, but don’t miss out on these digestive, anti-inflammatory and immune system helpers! These are a few I talked about at the Kitchener Market, which I also wanted to thank everyone who stopped by/helped/donated – you are all wonderful people! Gluten free snacks were bought for Roof as a result – a shelter for youth.

So here’s your education for the day – how flavour may add nutritional and health benefits!

Other - spice picture

Turmeric

  • a valuable digestive aid
  • anti-inflammatory
  • improves cardiovasular (heart) conditions
  • protects the body from bacterial infections (such as wounds)
  • contains Curcumin – a high antioxidant

Galangal and Ginger

  • alleviates abdominal discomfort and pain
  • assists in digestion
  • used to prevent nausea and motion sickness
  • improves blood circulation in hands and feet
  • anti-inflammatory

Lemongrass

Coriander

  • aids digestive problems – gas/bloating
  • aids bacterial and fungal infections
  • aids loss of appetite

Chiles

  • may help you sleep better
  • keeps your heart healthy by stimulating circulation
  • helps maintain insulin levels and thus balance blood sugar
  • anti-bacterial

Cinnamon

  • helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • helps control blood sugar
  • helps decrease inflammation and pain in the body
  • anti clotting effect on the blood
  • inhibits bacterial growth in food
  • inhibits Thromboxane which causes blood clotting

Fennel

  • inhibits bad breath
  • aids digestion by preventing gas
  • possibly has antispasmodic properties as it contains creosol and alpha pinene to loosen phlegm

Garlic

  • antibacterial – aids in reducing candida and other bacterial overgrowths
  • stimulates the immune system
  • decreases cholesterol by inhibiting platelet stickiness
  • inhibits H.Pylori – a bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers

Rosemary

  • relieves IBS and gas due to antispasmodic properties
  • stimulates the release of bile which aids in fat digestion due to bitter taste
  • prevents acetylcholine breakdown which is needed for memory
  • contains camphor which stimulates blood flow and circulation

Cayenne Pepper

  • stimulates gastric juices to begin digestion
  • anti-bacterial
  • stimulates perspiration to cool the body
  • can decrease appetite and thus aid in weight loss

Fenugreek

  • stimulates breast milk production in new mothers
  • has estrogen-like properties and can decrease PMS symptoms and increase libido
  • can help to regulate blood sugar
  • can lower cholesterol
  • can aid in heartburn symptoms

Mint

  • decreases gas and spasms in the intestinal tract
  • decreases colic and motion sickness
  • can inhibit the growth of salmonella
  • freshens breath

Cardamom

  • can stimulate appetite
  • has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties

 

Now go ahead, spice up your life! 🙂

About Sarah Maughan

Sarah Maughan is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist based in Toronto, ON and has been consulting since 2009. Her website aims to educate you, make you laugh, help you live and inspire you to eat whole food! To stay up to date sign up for free blog and recipe updates! In the meantime, empower your body with food!
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