Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice!

Today, spices in food are not an anomaly. The typical cupboard overflows with such spice varieties as salt, pepper, basil, thyme, garlic, nutmeg, cardamom…as well as myriad combinations of our favorite spice variations. Though most people add spice to dress up staple foods, these foodly accouterments may be doing much more than exciting our taste buds.

Health Benefits of Common (or not so Common) Spices

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  1. Cinnamon Cinnamon can have a marked effect on blood sugar, helping insulin to stabilize sugar in the body. It also has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, lending it to aid in food preservation. When paired with sugar, it can easily be a wonderful complement to sweet, but it can be equally savory when put in a soup or a salad topping.
  2. Thyme Thyme has an essential oil called thymol that touts the ability to calm upper respiratory inflammation, helping to cure whooping cough, bronchitis, or any sort of inflammation at all!
  3. Oregano Oregano, meaning “mountain joy,” is full of vitamin k, fiber, and omega-3s! Triple benefits from a gently-flavored spice.
  4. Rosemary Rosemary is chalk full of vitamins and minerals! between vitamin A, C, B complex, iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and manganese, Rosemary has you covered if you forget to take your multi-vitamin.
  5. Turmeric family members with ginger, Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory…and preliminary studies have shown that it may help prevent cancer from spreading, or work to fight cancer in the body,
  6. Ginger Paler in color than turmeric, ginger also boasts anti-inflammatory properties. But it is better known for its ability to fight motion sickness and morning sickness.
  7. Parsley Even though it is mostly dismissed as a decoration, parsley can do more than add to the visual appeal of the plate, or freshen breath for those hungry enough to consume the frivolous extras on the plate. Parsley can help to cleanse the blood and viens, helping with circulation. It is also robust in vitamins!
  8. Chili Peppers Cayenne, found in high levels in chili peppers, aids in digestion by helping the body to produce saliva and by acting as a detox agent. It can also support weight loss by helping to curb appetite.
  9. Garlic Garlic can do more than fight vampires or give you bad breath. A garlic rich diet has been found to fight certain types of cancer by boosting hydrogen sulfide production in blood cells.

Need more benefits to convince you to indulge in heavily spiced foods? Read this study by researchers at Penn State. It found that consuming lots of spices cuts the risk of a high-fat meal by interacting with triglyceride levels.

By Taylor Reiter (Dunster House FLP)

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