My dear friend Lynne Brick is an amazing woman. She has been inspiring women to get fit and improve their health for decades. She recently posted this great article which she’s graciously allowing me to share with you. So read on and load up your cabinets with these super special herbs and spices.
(Lynne gives special thanks to Dr. Chris D’Adamo, professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the Center for Integrative Medicine for his help with this article).
According to Dr. D’Adamo, herbs and spices are the “pound for pound champs” of the nutrition world. Here are five common herbs and spices with powerful health-enhancing properties.
- Black Pepper: You’re probably using this already. If you aren’t, you should start! Black pepper has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, protecting you against oxidative stress and inflammation; the root of many chronic diseases. Black pepper also helps improve digestion so if you experience digestive problems when consuming a certain food you may want to try sprinkling some black pepper.
- Red Pepper: is a cousin of black pepper. Even though it’s spicy and you think “heat”, red pepper has very strong anti-inflammatory properties and a red pepper extract, called capsaicin is often applied topically for pain relief. While consuming red pepper isn’t for everyone, those who like spicy food may be in luck because research shows that red pepper can help stimulate metabolism and thus may help assist with weight loss. WOW!
- Turmeric: When it comes to anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is probably at the head of the class! Turmeric is a brightly colored orange spice used in curries and it is also used in conventional mustards to provide its deep yellow color. Turmeric has been shown to protect against a wide range of diseases, especially cancer. You can use it in stews, marinades, or Dr. Chris D’Adamo’s favorite, crock-pot dishes.
- Ginger: If any spice can give turmeric a run for its money when it comes to anti-inflammatory properties, it’s ginger. Ginger has been shown to have potent COX-2 enzyme inhibitory properties, which is how many prescription pain medications work. However, unlike these medications, ginger does not inhibit COX-1 enzyme which means that it does not cause the side effects associated with pain medications. Research has shown that ginger may help reduce pain associated with exercise and help alleviate mild arthritic pain. You may think of ginger only in gingerbread or ginger snaps, powdered ginger is excellent in marinades for chicken or beef. Ginger tea is another excellent option and it is often used to aid digestion.
- Cinnamon: Like all of the other spices, cinnamon possesses both anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. However, cinnamon is probably best known for its ability to help lower blood sugar. This is especially important for diabetics, people at risk of diabetes or anyone who should closely monitor their blood sugar. We should all strive to maintain healthy blood sugar levels to avoid the frequent insulin spikes which can lead to weight gain, reduced insulin sensitivity, and ultimately increase our risk for developing diabetes. Sprinkle cinnamon on high carbohydrate meals, such as oatmeal, cereal, or juice since they raise your blood sugar.
These are just a few of the herbs and spices that can help promote optimal health and wellness while adding flavor and variety to your food!
Thank you again Lynne for sharing this very informative article! Please read Lynne’s weekly words of inspiration and wisdom HERE.
Spice It Up & Smile,