HEALTH

7 Spices With Hidden Health Benefits

August 10th, 2020

If you need some extra inspiration to try out new flavors in the kitchen, look no further! Along with adding plenty of delicious flavor, many common spices have incredible health benefits. Read on to learn more about a few spices that will elevate your meals and well-being.

1. Chili pepper

If you dig food with a bit of heat, you’ve probably consumed your fair share of chili peppers.
The spicier the pepper, the more capsaicin it contains. Capsaicin is actually what gives the pepper so much intensity, and it has loads of health benefits, including pain relief and promoting heart health.

2. Cumin

Cumin makes a great addition to chili, hummus, and really any dish you want to infuse with its warm, earthy flavor. Not only does cumin help spice up your dinner, but it’ll help you digest it as well! Cumin has been known to help with everything from irritable bowel syndrome to indigestion. Its seeds are also naturally rich in iron, antioxidants, and components that may help counter the long term effects of diabetes.

3. Cardamom

Known for its fragrant aroma, cardamom’s distinct mix of citrusy and spicy flavors make it an incredibly versatile spice. In the Middle East, green cardamom is a popular addition to coffee, adding floral notes to contrast the coffee’s rich bitterness. Black cardamom pods are picked later than their green counterparts and are dried over a fire, creating the intense smokiness that complements many meat dishes.

If you’re still not sold on the spice, its antioxidant and diuretic properties may lower blood pressure, have anti-inflammatory effects, reduce gastric ulcers, and prevent bad breath!

5. Ginger

There’s a reason that we always seem to gravitate towards ginger ale when we have an upset stomach, and it’s because ginger is famous for helping cure nausea. It can also help fire up your digestion and aid with joint stiffness and menstrual pain.

6. Garlic

Both chefs and doctors have advised people to eat more garlic for millennia. Its delicious prevalence has been well documented throughout history in civilizations such as the Egyptians, Babylonians, and the Chinese, and its uses are just as wide-ranging. It may reduce blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, protect against cell damage and aging, help detoxify heavy metals in the body, fortify bone health, improve athletic performance, and may even help prevent the common cold.

4. Cinnamon

Cinnamon’s sweet, woody fragrance immediately evokes memories of the holidays. From topping off tart apple pies to being bundled into warm cinnamon rolls, the spice perfectly pairs with countless sweet treats. It’s unforgettable scent and flavor is attributed to the compound cinnamaldehyde, which also produces many of the spice’s health benefits. It contains large amounts of highly potent antioxidants, may reduce the risk of heart disease, increase insulin sensitivity (which lowers blood sugar levels), and may help protect against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons.

7. Oregano

From pesto to pesce, a few sprigs of this Mediterranean staple are enough to add an aromatic lift to any dish. Oregano has one of the highest antioxidant activity ratings, even beating out apples and blueberries. The herb may also help prevent conditions including osteoporosis and arteriosclerosis.

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Kendall LoweryKendall Lowery is a current college student and a lifelong food enthusiast. When she’s not studying, she spends her time playing the flute, finding her next great bite, and working at Thrive Market as Content Contributor.

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