Spices and herbs not only make your food taste better, but they can support your health.
Sea salt: A little bit of salt goes a long way. Too much can be damaging to your kidneys and heart. When you do use salt; use sea salt. It has less sodium and more trace minerals than refined salt.
Black pepper: Pepper increases the production of hydrochloric acid, thereby improving digestion and reducing flatulence.
Vinegar: Vinegar is a good base for healthy salad dressings. It has been shown to slow down the conversion of starchy foods into glucose, thus minimizing the chances of a spike.
Garlic: Garlic is a natural antibiotic. The body does not appear to build up resistance to garlic, so its positive health benefits continue over time.
Cinnamon: Research chemist Richard A. Anderson and co-workers at the Beltsville (Maryland) Human Nutrition Research Center found cinnamon made fat cells more responsive to insulin. Remember, insulin is the hormone that regulates the level of glucose in the blood.
Basil: Basil reduces inflammation in the body. Eugenol, a component of basil, blocks the activity of an enzyme in the body called cyclooxygenase (COX). Many non-steroidal, over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS), including aspirin and ibuprofen, as well as the commonly used medicine acetaminophen, work by inhibiting this same enzyme.
Chili peppers: Chili peppers were once thought to cause ulcers. Not only do they not cause ulcers, they potentially help prevent them. Chili peppers stimulate the stomach to secrete protective buffering juices against the bacteria that causes ulcers.
Cumin seeds: Cumin seeds are a very good source of iron. Iron increases hemoglobin – the transport system that gets oxygen from the lungs to all body cells. Iron is also instrumental in keeping the immune system healthy.
Ginger: Ginger helps to eliminate gastrointestinal distress. It also reduces the dizziness, nausea, vomiting and cold sweats of motion sickness.
Oregano: Oregano contains oils which have been shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria.
Sage: Sage is an outstanding memory enhancer. An extract from the root of Chinese sage was found to contain acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitors. The memory loss characteristic of Alzheimer’s disease is accompanied by an increase of AChE activity.
Turmeric [curcumin]: Turmeric might prove to be to the spice cabinet powerhouse. Curcumin is potentially cancer protective. It seems to help the body to destroy mutated cancer cells, so they cannot spread and cause more harm. Curcumin also potentially prevents the oxidation of cholesterol in the body. Oxidized cholesterol damages blood vessels and builds up in the plaques that can lead to heart attack or stroke. The most active ingredient in this spice is bisdemethoxycurcumin, which seems to boost the activity of the immune system in Alzheimer’s patients, helping to clear the amyloid beta plaques characteristic of the disease.