Spices can add huge amounts of flavor to any dish. Many spices also have powerful health benefits – they’re packed with nutrients and often have anti-inflammatory properties that can help to numb pain. Here are just a few notable spices and how you can incorporate more of them into your diet!
Chili is great for the heart and can help alleviate many types of pain from migraines to achy joints. Of course, too much of it can be painful on the tongue (and just as painful when it comes out the other end), so it’s worth always using it with moderation. There are countless ways to use chili in cooking from seasoning chicken to giving pasta dishes a kick. It’s particularly common in oriental dishes such as curries and stir fries (as are many of the spices on this list).
Ginger is great for the gut and can help beat stomach pain and nausea, while also fighting inflammation elsewhere in the body. There are lots of tasty ways to consume ginger, like in cakes, and also as a tea. Ginger can also liven up many savory dishes – just check out this amazing shoyu chicken recipe. You can also eat ginger with fish.
Turmeric is a root vegetable within the same family as ginger. It has a long list of impressive health benefits and is believed to be able to reduce the risk of cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s. Turmeric is often used in curries and can also be added to stews and chicken dishes. You can even mix it into rice or sprinkle it on scrambled eggs.
Garlic is a favorite spice used in many forms of Mediterranean cuisine including pasta and garlic bread. As well as keeping the vampires away, garlic can reduce blood pressure and improve the immune system. Smelly breath is one of its less friendly side effects, but it’s worth putting up with for the added explosion of flavor and health benefits.
Cinnamon is a spice found under the bark of the cinnamomum tree. It’s thought to have antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties, helping to fight off illness. The spice is commonly found in sweet foods such as cakes and cookies – especially around Christmas. Too much cinnamon can damage the liver, so make sure to consume it in moderation (although if you’ve tried the cinnamon challenge, you’ll know just how hard it can be to eat large quantities of cinnamon).
Paprika is made from ground peppers, but tends to be a lot less fiery than chili. Its health benefits include lowering cholesterol, preventing inflammation, and improving eye health. Paprika can be sprinkled over pretty much anything – much like salt or black pepper. It tastes particular good sprinkled over deviled eggs or potato salad.
Cloves come from the flower buds of a clove tree. They’re full of antioxidants and are great natural painkillers – rubbing cloves on your gums is still a popular way to ease a toothache. Cloves are very versatile and can be used to glaze meat, liven up rice, or give sweet snacks a kick (they’re commonly used in food like pumpkin pie, alongside cinnamon and ginger).
•What spices are your favorite? Comment below!
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