Spices have been around for thousands of centuries. In early Egypt, they
were used in the mummification process and as a means to preserve food.
They have been used as currency and to cover “bad” odors before running
water and soap were so available. Different kinds of spices were spread
around the world by early European explorers who used them in their
travels. When we think of a spice today, our mind goes to their current use
as a way to flavor or season our food. Many, though, are not aware of the
natural health benefit spices have to offer in our lives.
Spices originate from different part of many plants. Some spices are from
the leaves of the plant such as basil, rosemary and thyme. Others are from
the bark such as cinnamon. The seeds or fruits give us vanilla and coriander
to just name a few. They can be ground, crushed, dried or grated fresh to
release their essential oils or flavors to tease our taste buds and spice up our
recipes. Now that we have discussed their early use and how they came to
be, let’s look at the health benefits.
Garlic is known to boost our immune system, lower blood pressure and
cholesterol. Cinnamon helps to control and lower blood sugar, which is
useful for diabetics. Cayenne pepper aids in appetite suppression and
increases fat burning for the goal of weight loss. Turmeric and ginger are
both known for having potent anti-inflammatory properties and useful for
those suffering from gastrointestinal ailments. Constant low-level
inflammation in our body is linked to many chronic diseases such as
diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Although you can locate many of these in
pill or capsule form in drug stores, we suggest it’s best to use the actual
spice in your daily diet. Use cinnamon in your morning coffee, turmeric in
your eggs and a little garlic makes most everything taste better! Here is a
recipe for a tea made of turmeric and ginger to drink after a good workout
session or anytime you feel a bit under the weather or have a flare of your
arthritic pain. Be careful with turmeric though it gives mustard its bright
yellow color so it will stain counter tops and kitchen towels.