By Rebecca Fending
Knowing which seasonings or spices to add to your food can be tricky, especially when it comes to your health. We all know when a dish needs salt, but adding extra isn’t always part of our advised diet by our doctor. However, that doesn’t mean your food should be bland. Here are five spices that you can use to liven your cooking this season and boost your overall health:
This spice is fantastic not just for the beautiful, rich golden color it gives to food, but also for its antioxidant properties. Due to the compound in turmeric called curcumin, this spice acts as an anti-inflammatory dietary supplement. It works great for anyone with skin issues such as eczema, as well as internal inflammation and swelling. Turmeric and curcumin are also great for anyone with diabetes as it helps regulate a person’s blood sugar metabolism.
Turmeric goes well with any leaner proteins such as salmon or chicken. It also goes well with any baked or pan fried starchy vegetables such as potatoes. As the flavor is largely undetectable, you can really add it to anything!
If you’re uneasy about adding turmeric to your daily meals, try taking a turmeric supplement in the form of a capsule. It’s tasteless and can also help you consume a larger amount of the substance than you work if you were to add it to your cooking. Be sure to talk to your doctor first, and do your research to source a reliable, authentic turmeric supplement.
This spice comes from the same family of spices as turmeric and curcumin. Traditionally used in Asian cuisine as it is indigenous to the region, ginger has a number of uses including helping satiate nausea and improving digestion. And, much like turmeric, it also helps reduce inflammation and oxidative stress (aging), and combat heart disease.
An easy way to work ginger into your cooking is by using it to either season or marinade leaner proteins such as salmon, white fish or chicken. If you’re craving Chinese takeout, try making it yourself by integrating fresh ginger into a homemade teriyaki sauce.
For those that are spicy food lovers, cayenne may be the answer to spicing up your dull dishes while lowering your blood pressure. According to many ancient cultures, cayenne also helps in increasing and bettering circulation due to the compound found within the pepper, capsaicin. This compound can be found in a number of topical creams and gels to quell muscle and joint pains.
To make cayenne a part of your daily diet, add a small dash to any dish that needs some slight heat. Or, if you have your own cayenne peppers, try making your own hot sauce to add to any dish, from fried eggs to steak.
Is there anyone out there who hates garlic? This is the perfect seasoning for any dish; from red meat to water-based vegetables, garlic is exactly what any home cook needs in copious amounts. Whether it’s powder, minced in water or fresh from the bulb (the latter is the best option for getting the most out of the seasoning), garlic can help strengthen your immune system and heart health due to its amount of vitamin C, manganese, iron and selenium. These vitamins and minerals help keep one’s arteries flexible, leaving a person less susceptible to heart disease and stroke.
According to food and nutrition expert Tracey Brigman, people should eat no more than two cloves of garlic each day. Beyond this amount, folks may experience digestion issues.
Ending on a sweet note, this pod is one of the ingredients that gives the beloved pumpkin spice mixture its characteristic warm, spicy profile. Much like ginger, cardamom can help relieve indigestion and fight against inflammatory free radicals within the body. With magnesium and zinc at the forefront of cardamom’s mineral benefits, this spice is perfect for keeping your body in tip-top shape while pleasing your taste buds.
The best way to work cardamom into your diet is by pairing it with chicken, red meat or complementary warm spices. Whether by making your own curry-based dishes with cardamom as an assisting flavor, or by making chai tea at home, this spice is easy to work with and delicious in flavor.
Always consult your doctor before integrating large amounts of any of these spices into your diet, either through cooking or supplement form. Keep healthy and stay smart.