Spices are a great way to change up any dish. These five spices do much more than just change the flavor of food, they improve your health.
For centuries, Hunters and gatherers used spices to preserve meats. Later accidentally discovered that it worked well in: enhancing the taste of meat, medicinal uses, and to mask odors of food. When leaves, seeds or roots had a pleasant taste or odor, they were in demand and became a norm for the culture as a condiment. Places like China, India, and Greece were some of the places that use spices on the daily. Below are the top five spices to use in your diet, not only to enhance your dishes but to improve your health and daily living.
Photo: Dr Weil
What it is: Turmeric, is a yellow-orange colored spice that comes from an actual root of a plant. Mainly used in South Asian dishes due to its many health benefits.
Health Benefits: Turmeric’s active ingredient is, curcumin, which is high in antioxidant and is proven to reduce inflammation in the body and much more.
Incorporating into your diet: You can add turmeric to eggs, vegetables, rice, soups, or even a smoothie! Turmeric is pungent in flavor so adding salt and pepper helps mask the taste.
Try this Lemonaid Infusion, as a refreshment for not only a hot day but also as an immune booster! This infusion contains 12 fruits, and is blended with traditional herbs like turmeric and cumin. It is vegan, gluten free and just 70 calories!
Photo: Authority Nutrition
What it is: Cinnamon, is a spice obtained from the inner bark of the tree species, Cinnamomun. The bark curls up as it dries, giving it the look it has when we buy cinnamon sticks.
Health Benefits: Cinnamon is a powerful spice that has been used for medicinal purposes around the world. It is a high source of antioxidants, that helps rid the body of free radical damages and slows the aging process. Contains anti-inflammatory properties which helps in lowering the risk of heart disease, cancer, and brain function decline. It even protects your teeth, and freshens the breath naturally.
Incorporating into your diet: You can easily add cinnamon into your diet but sprinkling it on vegetables and roasting them in the oven, in granola bars, drinking it with hot cocoa, adding it to baked goods, or even pancakes!
Try these maple cinnamon nut-free granola with yogurt or even as a snack on the go! This granola has the right amount of sweetness, hint of maple and cinnamon with the perfect crunch. You can easily personalize this vegan, dairy free granola with berries or dried fruit!
Recipes to try using cinnamon:
3. Curry Powder
Photo: Anthony the Spice Maker
What it is: Curry Powder, is a mix of spices including: turmeric, ginger, and coriander.
Health Benefits: Some of the benefits of using curry powder include: protection against heart disease, boost in bone health, protection of immune system from bacterial infections, increase in liver’s ability to remove toxins out of the body, and much more.
Incorporating into your diet: Curry powder is great for making curry, obviously. But you can also add this spice to dips, chips, or to roast vegetables.
Use this honey curry mustard to marinate chicken, salmon or as a condiment on your burgers! This mustard really packs a punch because of the curry mixed with raw honey, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It is gluten free, sugar free and vegan!
Recipes to try using curry powder:
4. Cayenne Pepper
What it is: Cayenne Pepper comes from a shrub that originated in Central and South America. The hollow fruit grows into long pods that turn orange or yellow when they ripen.
Health Benefits: This pepper contains vitamin C, B6, and E which are powerful antioxidant properties. Daily usage of cayenne pepper helps with digestion, migraine pain, prevents blood clots, relieves joint/nerve pain, supports weight loss and much more.
Incorporating into your diet: Cayenne pepper can be used in soups, tacos, chilis, burgers, and even detox drinks. But did you know you can eat it as a sweet treat?
For the chocolate lover who likes a kick of heat try these chocolate cayenne cookies. This chocolate and cayenne combination will leave you wanting more! These cookies are all natural and contain eggs.
Recipes to try using cayenne:
Photo: Istock Photo
What it is: Nutmeg, is a spice that comes from a seed of the Myristica tree. It comes in many forms: oils,
powder, or even butter.
Health benefits: Nutmeg is known for relieving pain, soothing digestion, detoxifying the body, increasing immune system functions and much more.
Incorporating into your diet: Since nutmeg works best with dairy based dishes, it can be used to make custards and desserts sauces. Nutmeg can also be used in small amounts to enhance other flavors in a dish.
Treat your taste buds with sweet lydia’s pumpkin spice s’mores, made from pumpkin puree spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg sandwiched with cinnamon sugar grahams. These treats will leave you wanting s’more!
Recipes to try using nutmeg:
It’s very easy to incorporate these spices to your dishes. It will not only add great flavor, but also introduce you to new cooking techniques. Make sure to try out the recipes above, or even create your own! Your body will thank you!