I’m not talking about making your dish hot, I’m talking about using spices in your dishes for flavor AND health benefits. The best part is that spices add tons of flavor without adding calories to your dishes.

Here are some of my staple spices that I use for their health benefits (basically the ones that I always have in my spice cabinet).

Black Pepper

Black pepper improves digestion by stimulating the taste buds and thereby alerting the stomach to increase hydrochloric secretion. Black pepper is also an antioxidant, and it has antibacterial effects. But wait – there’s more! You will be very happy to know that the outermost layer of the peppercorn actually helps stimulate the breakdown of fat cells!

Black pepper also helps prevent the formation of intestinal gas, promotes urination, and promotes sweating. It is full of manganese, and it also has a good amount of iron and dietary fiber, as well.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon also has a very healthy dose of manganese, but the health benefits of cinnamon are different than those of black pepper. Cinnamon can help eliminate and prevent the clumping of blood platelets. The scent of cinnamon can boost brain function – in other words, smelling cinnamon can improve your virtual recognition memory, working memory, and more!

Cinnamon can also help stop the growth of bacteria. Some even say that cinnamon can be used as spicy alternative to traditional food preservatives. For people with type 2 diabetes, cinnamon is wonderful – it can help them respond to insulin and thereby normalize their blood sugar levels.

Cayenne

The list of benefits from cayenne pepper seems to go on and on: it fights inflammation, prevents stomach ulcers, boosts immunity, offers pain relief, has cardiovascular benefits, and helps clear congestion. It seems that no matter your ailment, a dose of cayenne will help you out! Cayenne is also full of vitamin A.

Garlic

Garlic  is a natural antiseptic with typical strong smell due to the presence of allicin that is responsible for its healing properties. Garlic is rich in protein, vitamins A, B and C, and minerals like iron, calcium and selenium.

Garlic is an anti-viral and anti-bacterial agent due to its high sulphur content. Besides its use as garlic mashed potato, garlic bread, garlic sauce, roasted garlic, etc., it has health benefits to lower cholesterol, beauty & skin care, high blood pressure, the common cold, cancer and other diseases. It is used in many recipes to improve taste and flavor, for example, garlic chutney. Raw garlic is good for high blood pressure and to lower the blood cholesterol level, and reducing cramps, lowering blood sugar and muscular spasm.

Paprika

Researchers are finding amazing healing and health properties of Paprika. From high volume of Vitamin C, to aiding digestion, Paprika might be as well suited in your medicine cabinet as your kitchen spice rack. They have found that the capsicum peppers used for paprika contain six to nine times as much vitamin C as tomatoes by weight.

It’s also been learned that Paprika is an antibacterial agent and stimulant and can be used to help normalize blood pressure, improve circulation, and increase the production of saliva and stomach acids to aid digestion.

Cumin

Cumin seeds contain a good amount of iron. Cumin also helps in digestion and in treatment of the common cold, when added to hot milk.

Coriander

Coriander Seed is an important source of dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, and manganese. In holistic and traditional medicine, it is used as a carminative and as a digestive aid. Coriander seeds reduce fever, and promote a feeling of coolness.

Coriander Leaves act as stimulants and tonics. They strengthen the stomach and promote digestion by improving the discharge of urine. Coriander leaves, also known as cilantro, contain protein and fiber, and are rich in vitamin C and several minerals.

Ginger

Ginger improves digestion, prevents and manages stomach ulcers, protects against symptoms of colds and flu, and stimulates blood circulation. It has also been shown to be a very potent inhibitor of inflammatory compounds that contribute to arthritis and rheumatic conditions. Ginger also reduces blood cholesterol by improving liver function.

Have other spices you like to use that have health benefits? Please share them below!

Happy Eats!
@ashkalei

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