October 17, 2016

391 Health Benefits of Spices [17 Oct 2016]

It should come as no surprise to learn that culinary spices and herbs have beneficial properties for our health. Spices are really just herbs that we use for their taste and aroma. And as the legend goes, there are no plants without some medicinal use (the wise old herbalist sends out her apprentice to find a plant with no beneficial use and when she returns without finding any is told that she passed the test).

Modern science has discovered thousands of chemical compounds in plants, many of which have known health benefits. Here are a few with some of their many uses:

Cinnamon lowers blood sugar by slowing digestion of carbs and by improving insulin resistance; reduces inflammation; lowers cholesterol and triglycerides
Sage improves brain function and memory, in people with Alzheimer’s and healthy people, by slowing the breakdown of acetylcholine
Peppermint relieves headaches when applied to the temples; reduces pain in IBS by relaxing the smooth muscles of the colon; reduces nausea when used in aromatherapy
Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful antioxidant and strong anti-inflammatory; improves brain function; reduces risk of heart disease and cancer (see 3 previous columns)
Cayenne Pepper contains capsaicin which reduces appetite and increases fat burning; relieves stomach problems; improves blood circulation; topically for neuralgia
Ginger has strong anti-inflammatory properties; reduces nausea; helps with pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis
Fenugreek lowers blood sugar by improving the function of insulin; may increase testosterone levels (and therefore libido)
Rosemary suppresses allergy symptoms and reduces nasal congestion
Garlic is well known for its health benefits (see column #40); contains allicin which improves immunity, reduces cholesterol, and lowers blood pressure

The best way to benefit from the health properties of spices is to use them liberally every day in your food. Your food will taste better too! And the freshest spices will have the most potency for both flavor and health benefits (so toss the 20 year old spices you inherited from Grandma and buy fresh, preferably organic, spices).

Source: 10 Delicious Herbs and Spices With Powerful Health Benefits by Joe Leech, Dietitian

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

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