Spice for your taste and your health: The health benefits of winter spices
With the winter holidays approaching, the tastes and smells of the season are all around us; Hot apple cider, cinnamon bread, eggnog, pumpkin spice just about anything you can imagine. The winter spices behind what make these flavors so iconic do more than just add taste, however. There are proven health benefits that each spice brings.
Cinnamon – The strong smell of cinnamon is from high levels of cinnamaldehyde, the chemical that also provides the health benefits.
- It is antimicrobial. It inhibits the growth of bad bacteria.
- Blood sugar regulation. It lowers blood sugar and has been shown to have an antidiabetic effect.
- The calcium and fiber in cinnamon help the heart.
- Reduces the chances of a blood clot from an unclogging compound
- Half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder a day can reduce cholesterol
Cloves – These have some of the highest antioxidants of any spice from the eugenol contained within. Health benefits:
- An anti-inflammatory, so strong in fact it is used medically in some countries.
- Helps relax the smooth lining of the GI tract, which in turn helps alleviate vomiting, diarrhea, intestinal gas and stomach aches.
- Can help prevent and lessen the effects of the flu and cold.
- Acti-bacterial and anesthetic. Cloves and clove oil are often used for tooth pain.
Ginger – gingerol
- Ginger, a warming spice, has strong health benefits from the gingerol it contains.:
- Best known for soothing the stomach and reducing nausea. It is used regularly for morning sickness and postoperative sickness.
- The Japanese drink ginger tea and use ginger body scrub that is thought to open circulation and provide a warming effect.
- Antibacterial and antifungal properties. It has been used to treat yeast infections and foot fungus. It also slows reproduction of bacteria in the colon, helping prevent infection.
Nutmeg – Nutmeg’s health benefits come from a combination of different chemicals found within that gives it the unique nutty flavor and taste.
- Helps relieve stress and anxiety while improving focus
- Assists with liver and kidney health
- Lowers blood pressure
- The fresher the spices, the better the benefits, but bottled herbs will still work. Spice for your taste and your health. Have a great holiday season!
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