From Spice Rack to Medicine Cabinet
Every month there seems to be a new culinary spice in the headlines. These articles aren't about hot new recipes from a master chef, but rather about the medicinal properties of these spices based on the latest modern research. Spices are great for when you're trying to dress up your dinner, but when consumed in medicinal amounts, they can be healthy too:
You might go easy on this spice because of its high price and thankfully only a little is needed to take advantage of its health benefits. When used in small amounts, the carotene that gives saffron its beautiful orange color is a great antioxidant that boosts your immune system.
Ginger has traditionally been used to aid digestion, and mothers all over the world know to drink ginger tea for morning sickness. And while this spice works very well as a digestive tonic, the latest research shows its health benefits for inflammatory conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
You might be used to seeing this spice sprinkled on top of your latte, but its health benefits are numerous. Traditionally, cinnamon has been used to promote circulation but the latest research shows its ability to lower cholesterol and treat osteoarthritis. Its blood sugar lowering properties can also help treat hypoglycemia and Type 2 diabetes.
One of the most heavily researched spices of late, turmeric has a long history of healing in India. The curcuminoids in turmeric help with inflammatory conditions, especially those involving joints. It has been shown to have many other healing properties, from preventing Alzheimer's disease to treating carpal tunnel syndrome to fighting cancer. Its deep yellow coloring also means it has an abundance of antioxidants, so it is good as an everyday spice as well.
India may seem to have the monopoly on this blend of spices, including turmeric, cardamom, cumin, fenugreek, cinnamon and cayenne pepper, but we can all enjoy in its health benefits. When combined, these spices have a stimulating effect on the body: they promote circulation, treat indigestion and decrease inflammation.
Chock full of capsaicin, paprika may sting your tongue a bit, but it is actually used in skin creams to reduce pain. The capsaicin helps to decrease the formation of clots by preventing platelets from sticking together in cardiac conditions and is an all-around good antioxidant.
So the next time you reach into that medicine cabinet, consider the wealth of health in your spice rack.