Written by Millionaire’s Digest Staff Member: Charlene Ryan
Founder & Owner of: Fit, Healthy, Happy Home
Millionaire’s Digest Team, Contributor, Healthy Living and Successful Living Writer
There are numerous ways we can improve our health. If you haven’t already done the majority of what’s on this list, It’s time to start, but our focus here is #6. Check it out!
- Limit added sugars
- Consume less stimulants
- Drink plenty of water
- Watch less TV
- Use herbs and spices
- Be more outward than inward, having a generous spirit (another blog coming soon on this one)
- Wait, what was number 6? Herbs and spices?
Yes, herbs and spices.
The little shake of cinnamon in your latte, the thyme you chop and sprinkle in your sauces, the basil leaves in your pasta, the herbal tea (which also can replace coffee!) you sip each morning, the dried oregano on your pizza, etc.
It’s not all about the flavor.
And why would we want more?
- Disease prevention
Many herbs and spices curb inflammation in the body
2.Relief from common everyday conditions whether acute or chronic
Like how ginger tea aids digestion
3. More flavor, less sodium, fat and sugar needed
Adding cinnamon, all-spice and just a little sprinkle of sea salt to my sweet potatoes instead of butter and excessive salt is a favorite of mine!
4. More nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals
Polyphenols, one type of plant compound, provide one of the main health benefits associated with herbs and pices
What are some ways we can get more?:
1.Explore new recipes by putting an herb or spice in the search bar in your browser. For example, inputting thyme recipes in your search bar whether on Pinterest or Google will give you many recipes and ways of caring for and storing freshly dried thyme. In one quick search I did, the following recipes came up: roasted mushrooms with garlic and thyme, honey-roasted plums with thyme and olive oil, roasted carrots with fresh thyme, thyme lemonade, and waaay more!
2. Add spices to smoothies: try cinnamon with banana and/or carrot smoothies. Try adding cardamom to a peach or pear smoothie.
3. Add spices to your morning cereal. Fenugreek with its bitter maple flavor is delicious in oatmeal with a little stevia, cinnamon, and walnuts; topped with almond milk.
4. Explore other cuisines than you’re not used to. Indian, Italian, Greek, and Japanese have many healthful selections with uses of spices and herbs galore. See how the use of spices and other staple ingredients have kept them free from disease.Then seek out recipes you feel like you can successfully make. Turmeric is native to India and Indonesia, has antioxidant benefits like no other. Indian cooks makes best use of turmeric in their curries and dahls which are delicious and have many other ingredients which help the body resist disease. Spices, in general are a big part of their flavorful stews. Think about Greece and the use of oregano. What Greek-style foods could you make this week to include oregano (see oregano’s benefits below)?.
5. Supplements can help you get even more into you than you can by eating. Curcumin, for example a compound in turmeric is sold in capsules in bioavailable formulas so you get most of the benefits. Cinnamon, commonly used to help control blood sugar is taken as a supplement. Some other common herbs and spices taken in supplement form are turmeric, mint, garlic, parsley, lemon balm, olive leaf, oregano, and ceyenne.
Below is a short list of a few spices and herbs and their amazing benefits: Explore your favorites and start adding them into your daily meals.
Anise seed –
A delicious licorice-like flavored seed. Reminds me of my grandmother’s Italian Anise cookies. Believe it or not anise cookies even when made with flour and sugar, are an after-meal digestive. I make them with whole grains so we can have the best of both worlds. Aniseed is good for and may help prevent asthma, bad breath, colic, constipation, dehydration, flatulence, indigestion, stomachache, and ulcers. Try sprinkling aniseed on your almond butter toast with a little allspice—a new favorite of mine.
like other spices, the benefits are numerous and need to be consumed on a regular basis. Caraway helps fight colds, aids digestion, including relieving constipation; fighting bronchitis, and reducing cholesterol and triglycerides (stored fats).
This exotic spice is a good source of essential minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and manganese and 19+ essential volatile oils. The oil in cardamom is antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic and tonic. I like to add it wherever I’d add cinnamon and right along with it. Cardamom Bread is a traditional favorite at our house every Christmas season.
Fenugreek Seed –
the maple-like flavored spice with bitter tones. Ground fenugreek was at the top of my list of spices to use when i was pregnant and nursing; it is one of the spices recommended for healthy milk production. But that’s the least it does for us…
Compounds in fenugreek help lower LDL cholesterol. Fenugreek helps balance daily blood sugar, helping save diabetics from circulatory aftershocks of high blood sugar. This is important for long term prevention of heart disease, stroke, blindness, nerve pain and kidney disease related to diabetes complications. Fenugreek help prevent cataracts, reversed gallstones, reduces calcium oxalate in the kidneys—the build up of which causes kidney stones, and boosts the immune system. Fenugreek can also slow or stop the growth of breast, pancreatic and prostate cancer cells. Fenugreek is an ingredient in essential spice mix that you can sprinkle on your food everyday.
The strength lies in it’s strength! It is what it is! It is a warrior for our health. Once crushed or chopped, the beneficial compound allicin releases the compounds called organosulfurs; these help fight major diseases such as heart disease, cancer, atherosclerosis, arthritis, brain aging, and cataract formation. Garlic also lowers blood pressure ad helps lower total cholesterol. As a side note, garlic effectively thins the blood.Add an extra clove to your soups, stews, sauces, and marinades. Garlic supplements are a great option for disease prevention too
Researchers in Thailand report the extract of this spice to be able to kill leukemia cells according to Baharat Aggarwal, author of Healing Spices. This spice can help combat anxiety, depression, cancer, wrinkles, epilepsy and cholesterol problems. I love nutmeg in quiche, curries, spinach dishes, thick soups, and in creamy desserts.
Oregano has a unique ability to end intestinal parasites–something that medications don’t always accomplish. The compounds in oregano can also kill many bacteria that is the cause of food poisoning. oregano and cranberry extracts together kill H. pylori bacteria–the cause of stomach ulcers. Oregano oil can strengthen the liver, calm colitis, fight vaginal yeast infections, prevent or treat metabolic syndrome, high cholesterol, colon cancer and Alzheimer’s disease (because of its ability to boost acetylcholine). So next time you’re making pizza, seafood, pasta sauce, any dishes featuring pasta, mushrooms, chicken or grilled meat, add some oregano! For treatment purposes, oregano oil is available, but should be used under supervision for prolonged use.
A super spice with so many benefits. I will summarize the best I can without leaving out vital points. In short, I could say, try to get this spice in your diet each day for better health and optimal disease prevention. It has more than 50 healing actions from pain relief to improving circulation. Curcumin is a powerful compound in turmeric responsible for its amazing effects benefiting every part of the body. Curcumin can combat over 70 maladies, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, cystic fibrosis, and more. You name it, turmeric can probably beat it.
For cancer alone turmeric can inhibit genes that trigger cancer, inhibit the spread of tumor cells, inhibit the transformation of a normal cell into a caner cell, shrink tumor cells, prevent tumors from spreading to other organs, prevent the development of the blood supply necessary for cancer cells to form and spread, enhance the cancer destroying effects of chemotherapy and radiation.
For Parkinson’s help: Researchers found that curcumin reduced the rate of cell death by 19% and dramatically reduced the rate of oxidative damage in the cells. In general, curcumin can protect us from this and other diseases of the brain and help treat them.
Keep in mind that antioxidants protect cells by capturing free radicals that normally would cause damage to the cell. This damage can come from many places, smoke, pollution, fried foods, processed foods, and exercise. With powerful antioxidants in your diet, you get ahead of the damage. Turmeric is an ingredient in Essential Spice Mix that you can sprinkle daily.
A book I love and has been a reference for me: Healing Spices by Bharat B. Aggarwal
A website where i go to educate myself on all kinds of nutrients and foods:whfoods.com
Article Credits: Charlene Ryan
-Millionaire’s Digest Team, Contributor