Spices that have healthful benefits are great to add to almost every meal.
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Cayenne, is a hot, fiery spice that is used extensively in Mexican and Indian cooking. The heat in cayenne pepper comes from a substance called capsaicin which is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. It also increases thermogenesis (heat production) and oxygen consumption which contributes to weight loss. Cayenne peppers are full of beta carotene, other antioxidants and immune boosters and helps to build healthy mucous membranes tissues.
Cumin has a strong smoky flavor and is used widely in Middle Eastern, Mexican and Indian cooking. The seeds can be ground or used whole. It is a good source of iron, and has traditionally been used to aid digestion. Cumin seeds release their full aroma and flavor when lightly roasted.
Cinnamon is a common spice in many cultures and well known for it's musky sweet flavor. It can be used ground or whole, to flavor beverages, curries, rice dishes and desserts. The essential oils found in cinnamon give it anti-clotting and anti-microbial properties and recent studies have shown that it slows the rate at which the stomach empties after meals, reducing the rise in blood sugar after eating. Cinnamon counteracts congestion, may be useful treating osteoarthritis and improves blood circulation.
Oregano is a key ingredient in Mediterranean cuisine, and is used as a garnish, in salad dressing, or sauteed with other ingredients such as mushrooms or onions to add a subtle aromatic flavor to food. It is a nutrient dense spice with powerful anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial properties and been regarded as one of the healthy spices by the Mediterranean people for generations.
Ginger is one of the most healthy spices available. It is a strong pungent spice, widely used in Asian stir fries and many fruit and vegetable dishes. It has long been used as a herbal medicine to relieve gastrointestinal distress and nausea, and in modern times has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It is also used as a natural remedy for cold and flu symptoms and is thought to have immune boosting action. Ginger shows promise in treating cancer, osteoarthritis and, when used topically, rheumatoid arthritis.
Turmeric contains an entire spectrum of other health benefits like inflammation-fighting compounds called curcuminoids. These compounds may help prevent Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. When used topically turmeric has been known to help heal skin infections. Turmeric is an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and therefore protects against cancer.