Spicing things up always makes things better. Spice up a party, a new look, or even spice up your relationship. Spicing up your life is a good thing and adding spices to your daily nutrition can make that life a lot more healthy. Below are seven herbs and spices that I use in my daily nutrition, and I highly recommend you should too. Take a look at the amazing health benefits of these common house hold seasonings that you should be incorporating into your daily nutrition. Make sure to take a look at my sample daily meals that shows how easy it can be to incorporate all these into a healthy and well balanced meal plan.
Keep it hot and spicy. Cayenne pepper can turn up the heat on any dish and help you cut down on the calories. Numerous studies have shown that Capsaicin (the ingredient that gives cayenne peppers heat) can reduce a person’s appetite and consume fewer calories. The heat from the peppers will also turn up your body’s own heat and boost your metabolism, burning more calories. Research also indicated that individuals who added cayenne to their morning meal not only ate fewer calories and burned more, but had less cravings for fatty foods throughout the day. The health benefits don’t stop there. Capsaicin is a natural anti-inflammatory, reduces blood sugar, improves circulation and prevents bloods clots, improves digestion and works as an anti-irritant, relieves migraines and fights cold and flu. The health benefits of capsaicin aren’t limited to cayenne. Capsaicin is what gives a pepper its heat, so the hotter the pepper usually the more capsaicin it has. So, look for the same health benefits in chili peppers, paprika, habaneros, crushed red pepper, and more. Try adding cayenne pepper to fresh avocado, egg-whites, hummus, or any dish you want to add a little heat to. If you’re looking for a natural alternative to a fat burner, try adding some spice to your daily meals. Use caution when handling peppers, the capsaicin can be an irritant to eyes and sensitive skin.
Who doesn’t love cinnamon? This sweet and savory spice has been used for centuries for medicinal purposes. Studies have shown cinnamon has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-tumor, cardiovascular, cholesterol-lowering, and immunomodulatory effects. These benefits have been shown in all forms of cinnamon, most common to us from bark (cinnamon stick), bark powder (ground cinnamon), or essential oils. Try cinnamon on your oats in the morning, spice up your tea or coffee, or even add to a savory meat in a slow cooker. The cooking possibilities on this one are endless, and you should have no problem incorporating into your daily life. When trying to reduce your sugar intake, cinnamon can be a great relief to your taste buds for bland foods.
If you suffer from muscle soreness after resistance training like the rest of us, try and add a little ginger to your diet. Ginger has been shown to reduce muscle pain resulting from exercise. Its strong anti-inflammatory properties have shown to reduce pain with the same effects of aspirin and ibuprofen. Ginger is also known to successfully treats nausea as well as pregnancy induced nausea. Research also showed no difference in health benefits from heated ginger over raw. So, if you love sushi make sure you’re getting your fill of ginger in between rolls. You can also add ginger to your favorite smoothie, or grate fresh ginger into a healthy stir-fry.
If you suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or painful digestive gas and bloating, mint might be your answer. The oils in mint have been shown to calm the muscles of the stomach and increase bile, which the body uses to digest fats. Mint has also shown to increase cognitive performance and increased memory through aromatherapy. Try a fresh sprig of mint on Greek yogurt and berries, or muddle some into your next mojito; although one is a bit healthier than the other.
Pain relief is just one of the amazing benefits of this spice. Nutmeg’s essential oils can reduce inflammation and relieve joint pain and muscle soreness in affected areas. It’s even been used in skin remedies with its anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties that treat acne and clogged pores. Its anti-bacterial and when consumed, improves teeth and gums, as well as breath. Nutmeg contains a high amount of manganese which is essential to the body in metabolizing fats and proteins. When incorporated into your daily nutrition, nutmeg can help treat insomnia, regulate blood circulation, improve digestion, and increase brain health. Add some nutmeg to your oatmeal, pancakes, coffee or tea, and it compliments well with cinnamon. Try nutmeg on fruit or in a drink, like a mango smoothie.
This savory spice, also known as Salvia, has shown great benefits in brain function. Its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and osteogenic properties are consistent with the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Don’t think you must be in your senior years to benefit from the use of sage though. Research also indicates in healthy young individuals to have increases memory benefits as well. Sage is commonly chopped and melted in with real butter for use in pastas and just about any meat. Try some fresh sage, olive oil, and lemon juice for your next chicken marinade; take your culinary skills to the next level with a crisp fried sage leaf atop your dish.
This Indian spice is what gives curry its yellow color. Turmeric’s health benefits are caused by a compound called curcumin. Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory that is so strong it matches the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs. Curcumin is also an antioxidant, so it not only fights inflammation but also free radicals. The benefits of turmeric in digestion is astounding. When given powdered turmeric daily, over 75% of patients with stomach ulcers, where ulcer free after 12 weeks. Curcumin and its effects on cancer is one of the most widely researched topics. Studies show curcumin to actually have an anticancer effect, and preventing more cancer cells from growing. The endless health benefits of turmeric include liver protection, blood circulation, lowered cholesterol levels, eases arthritis, an antidepressant and more. Note that curcumin is a low percentage of turmeric and is difficult to absorb. So, be liberal with spices and consume with black pepper which increases the absorption of turmeric by 2000%. Add turmeric to vegetables or rice, in a smoothie, or top of meat or eggs. You’ll also get turmeric anytime you order up your favorite curry.
EXAMPLE MEAL PLAN
Morning Shake: Fruit Smoothie w/ Ginger, Turmeric, and Cayenne Pepper
Meal 1 Breakfast: Egg whites w/ Turmeric & Oatmeal w/ Cinnamon and Nutmeg
Meal 2 Snack: Greek Yogurt w/ Fresh Berries and Mint
Meal 3 Lunch: Lean Ground Turkey w/ Cayenne Pepper & White Rice and Avocado w/ Cayenne Pepper
Meal 4 Pre Workout: Sage Grilled Chicken & Sweet Potato w/ Cinnamon and Nutmeg
Meal 5 Post Workout: Beef and Vegetable Stir-Fry w/ Ginger and Turmeric
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4003790/ Cinnamon Benefits
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20418184 Ginger Muscle Soreness
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16389016 Ginger postoperative nausea
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15802416 Ginger pregnancy nausea
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10793599 Ginger nausea
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26177486 Herbs and Cholesterol
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18041606 Mint and Memory
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12895683 Sage and Alzheimer’s
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12895685 Sage Memory
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19594223 Turmeric Anti-Inflammatory
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17569207 Turmeric Antioxidant
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3633300/ Turmeric Overview