Is there even such a thing as a great meal without Common Spices? Anyone who’s eaten a plain piece of baked chicken with no flavoring knows the difference a sprinkle of salt or pepper can make. But some spices are more than just flavoring—they can have serious health benefits.
Not all spices are created equal, and many common bottled spices are just collections of salt and flavoring. But if you know where to look, some spices pack a serious flavor punch and should be regular additions to your diet. There are several common spices with major health benefits.
Turmeric can be purchased as a fresh root, but it’s more commonly found dried and powdered. It’s best known for its distinct orange color, and while it doesn’t have the strongest flavor, it packs nutrition into each root. It’s related to ginger and is frequently prescribed as a dietary supplement for arthritis, digestive issues, respiratory ailments, and allergies. It can aid liver health and is even made into a paste for skin conditions.
One of the most common places to loof for turmeric is as an ingredient in curry powder. If you’re a fan of Indian or Thai food, it’ll be easy to get your turmeric fix. For those who prefer it in a milder form, you’ll be able to find turmeric supplements or powder you can add to smoothies. You can even take turmeric gummy vitamins to get your daily allotment easily.
One of the most common spices, this bark can have a spicy kick but can easily be toned down to add a pleasant accent to many dishes. It has a surprising number of health benefits, including helping your body fight off viruses, bacteria, and fungal infections. It’s an antioxidant with natural anti-inflammatory properties, reduces blood pressure and blood sugar, and contains prebiotics that can improve your digestive health and stomach ailments.
How you prefer cinnamon in your diet depends on what you normally eat. Some of the easiest ways are to add it to morning treats like oatmeal or add a small amount to the creamer in your coffee or tea. It can also work surprisingly well with savory items, like going in a curry or a barbecue rub. How much you want will depend on your spice tolerance, but a little goes a long way.
Ginger is one of the oldest health supplements and has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and anti-nausea effects. There’s a reason you may have been given ginger ale as a child when you had an upset stomach, and the more concentrated root is even better. Studies show that taking ginger regularly may also provide a long-time reduction in colon cancer risk.
Ginger has a very potent and spicy taste, so eating it straight may not be for everyone—even though candied ginger is available and cuts that spice with some sweetness. Authentic ginger ales that have ginger root as an ingredient are available. A little ground-up ginger can also add a nice kick to cookies or sweetbreads.
Garlic isn’t just the cornerstone of any flavorful dish in many cultures—it’s a plant that can help you live longer. It concentrates its efforts in the circulatory system, promoting heart health and keeping your blood vessels flexible. This can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, which is especially important as people get older.
The good news is garlic is one of the easiest spices to work into your diet. If you don’t like the texture of raw garlic or find it a little intense, it’s perfect for cooking with. Chop or puree it as finely as you want and add it to your soups, pasta, or meat marinades. Everything will taste better, and you’ll reap the health benefits.
This pepper powder goes perfectly in just about any food you don’t mind a bit of heat in, and it also packs a powerful punch for your health. It can boost your metabolism, making it easier to control your weight and stay healthier, and it provides a boost to appetite control. Spicy foods suppress the appetite after smaller portions, so it’s easier to lose weight.
Most savory foods, and even some sweet ones, go well with a bit of a kick. But while those who like fiery foods will enjoy this spice, it may also have diminishing effects. Studies show that the health benefits of cayenne aren’t quite as strong on those who regularly eat spicy foods.
Spice Up Your Diet
These spices are much more than just health supplements. They’re the backbone of countless recipes. With some clever cooking and mix-ins, you can give your daily diet a powerful health boost without sacrificing any taste.