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The Health of Spice

By Genevieve Smith

If variety is the spice of life, then spice is the variety you need in your diet. These plant-derived ingredients hold within them major benefits to our health. Don’t serve up a spice for taste; consider centering a dish around it. Cultures around the world incorporate spice into medicinal uses. In fact, tonic water was once a mainstream use of the ground bark of the South American cinchona tree and used to treat malaria. India has a traditional turmeric drink to fight off illness. Chinese culture has been turning to ginger for centuries for its medicinal properties. Which spices should you bring into your meal prep more often?

Vital Spices 

Here's the gold that every spice rack should have.

Dried red pepper - Capsaicin is the compound that may be to thank here for pepper’s health properties. The same element that’s responsible for the spicy taste is also linked with a reduced risk of colon and skin cancers. Additionally, people who eat dried red pepper tend to eat fewer calories. Add it to cheese-based dishes for a flavor contrast with a punch.

Cinnamon - This spice has a remarkable impact for those with type 2 diabetes. When consumed daily, it’s been found to lower blood sugar, the bad kind of cholesterol (LDL), and triglyceride counts. 

Nutmeg - Research has found antibacterial properties which serve to help fight listeria, E. coli and salmonella. Add nutmeg to your next chicken soup broth for an extra medicinal kick.

Cumin - This ingredient makes for a great addition to any spice rub and, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, may help fight tumor growth.

Turmeric - The main ingredient of the trendy “golden milk” recipe stems out of traditional Ayurvedic medicine. While Indian mothers may claim turmeric is a cure-all, that has yet to be substantiated, but there is some truth to the claim. Research has found the active component, curcumin, may stop the spread of cancer and help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.

Sage - The leaves of this native Mediterranean plant can help lower the risk of heart disease, specifically by having an impact on cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Add it into your next pesto sauce or olive tapenade.  

Spices have been used traditionally in medicine for centuries. While some historical applications of spice have not held up against modern medicine, research has delved back into the properties of certain spices. Science has found these ingredients have beneficial properties for sustainable health. May you be inspired by spice for your next meal, and find good health. 

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Baytown, Tex.


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