When you think about adding spices to your food, I bet most people would say that you add them for flavor. But did you know that spices and herb are often nutritional powerhouses providing antioxidant benefits, reduced risks of cancer, immune system protection and more?
If you are like me when cooking, you grab one of a select 3 or 4 spice bottles from the cabinet, sprinkle some in without measuring and cross your fingers that the dish ends up tasting good.
Sometimes it does.
Other times, well, I prefer not to talk about that.
But I’ve never really been overly deliberate about the spices that I use. I just use the few that I know usually work well – salt, pepper, onion powder, oregano. That is, until I learned about the health benefits of spices!
Most herbs and spices have healthy benefits, but the 5 below are my favorite and generally should be available pretty much anywhere.
5 of the Healthiest Spices
Cinnamon can help lower blood pressure, bad cholesterol and helps stabilize blood sugar for people with type 2 diabetes. It contains antioxidants, iron and calcium and is touted as being great for weight loss. Cinnamon tastes great and can be added to applesauce, sprinkled on apples before drying them, added to yogurt, oatmeal or cereal and even used in chili and other spicy type dishes. You can also add a dash of cinnamon to your morning coffee or tea.
Tumeric is antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It is said to possibly help fight cancer, aid in weight loss, relieve arthritis, fight colds and more. Tumeric is one of the healthiest spices but also one of the more difficult to figure out what to do with. It has a strong flavor but is great over roasted veggies, stews or soups.
Nutmeg is antibacterial may help fight such nasty things as listeria, E. coli, and salmonella. It may also help reduce cavities and relieve gas & indigestion. Nutmeg and cinnamon often go hand in hand. Add nutmeg to cereal or oatmeal, in your coffee or in chili or soups. It also is great sprinkled on a baked sweet potato.
Cumin contains iron and may help regulate blood sugar. It contains antioxidants, is antibacterial and is anti-inflammatory and may help reduce the size of tumors. Cumin goes well with tacos and other Mexican inspired foods, or in chili and soups.
Sage is heart healthy! It may help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, improve memory and even help soothe a sore throat. Sage is a great addition to any dish that would benefit from mild herbs. It can be sprinkled on bread, added to roasted veggies or used to add some flavor to butter or mashed root veggies.
These are just 5 of probably hundreds of spices that you can add to your everyday meals to not only give them amazing flavor but improve your health as well!
To encourage you to spice up your meals, for their Dare Your to Share Campaign for November, United Healthcare is challenging you to share a picture of a meal you have used spices with for a chance to win a Le Crueset 9 Quart Cast Iron French Oven. Weekly prizes include $25 prepaid Gift Cards.
While you are there make sure to enter the other dares as well. You can enter to win a Kindle Fire HDX or a $400 Amazon gift card for taking a health quiz and sharing your opinion on a health care video.