5 Healthiest Spices to Add to Food
By now we all know that what we put into our bodies matters a lot in a variety of ways, but we tend to think in terms of the bigger ticket items…grilled chicken VS fried for example. Every healthy swap has the power to transform your diet, but additionally so does the low key act of sprinkling some herbs or spices onto your next meal. Here are a few common seasonings that boast extraordinary health benefits.
What sounds more badass than something tasty that contains phytonutrients that protect chromosomes from radiation based damage? Basil can claim that. The herb is also an anti-inflammatory, an antibacterial, and can help oxidize the blood stream. Adding basil to a dish doesn’t just enhance the flavor profile, it can also weed out any microbes that are hiding on other foods.
The spice turmeric is mostly found in curry dishes, but you should clear a space for it front and center on your spice rack and work it into every dish possible. Turmeric’s health benefits mostly come from its antioxidant curcumin which is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Turmeric has been found to reduce the growth of cancerous cells in the body, increase brain function to prevent degenerative brain diseases, lower the risk of heart disease, and decrease the occurrence of depression. It can also be taken in a supplement form if sprinkling the yellow spice on your dinner every single day isn’t going to happen.
Cinnamon has been shown to positively affect the blood glucose levels, which means that it might be able to assist with weight loss and that it can lower the blood sugar in people who have been diagnosed with either type 1 or 2 of diabetes. Additionally cinnamon may be able to help reduce the negative affects of eating a fatty meal when it’s paired in the dish. (Double win for the waistline.) Researchers have reason to believe that cinnamon might help to protect against HIV, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, reduce the effects of Multiple Sclerosis, and treat bacterial and fungal infections. Cinnamon naturally tastes a bit sweet even when it’s not paired with sugar, so throw it on your oatmeal or into a smoothie for a morning nutrient boost.
Dill is not just for the deviled eggs anymore. This herb is packed with vitamins and minerals and so much so that it’s actually a good source of calcium. Dill can help quell insomnia, manage insulin levels, prevent cancer, prevent microbial infections in the body, and function as a natural antihistamine. It’s also an anti-inflammatory and helps keep excess gas moving swiftly through the body. It’s light flavor goes with pretty much any lean protein source but is a fan favorite with salmon.
5. Black Pepper
If you’re already using this spice everyday, good on you! Black pepper improves digestive function and assists in the breakdown of fat cells, so consider it arsenal in your weight maintenance plan. It can also provide relief from nasal congestion and coughs, has antibacterial qualities to help keep you healthy, breaks down excess cholesterol in the artery walls, and improve cognitive malfunction. Black pepper also increases the bioavailability of other foods, so when you grind some on a salad for example you’re basically increasing the health factor of the whole darn thing.
About Kate Ferguson Kate Fergus is a Los Angeles local and freelance writer for a variety of blogs and online magazines. When she's not writing, the UC Davis graduate is focused on pursuits of the entertainment industry, spin class, and hot sauce.