By Grace Miazga
Spices are the best way to make a typical meal become an impressive feast. You have the choice to set the scene, whether you want to create a house-warming aroma with cinnamon and ginger, or a festive and exotic mood with cayenne pepper and turmeric. But a mouthful of foodie-essence isn’t the only thing you’ll get with spices. Most are chockfull of nourishing elements including, anti-inflammatory, metabolic-boosting, and/or curative assets.
Cayenne is a popular flavor added to spicier dishes. Red pepper flakes are one of its most common forms, often added to pizza or spaghetti. Cayenne seasoning has been known to have a strong influence on metabolic rate and weight loss. With its hunger-curbing power, even adding cayenne to an appetizer has been shown to help you eat 15% less of your main entrée. Because you’re less likely to gorge, cayenne decreases fat build up, including the fat around internal tissues. Those who are frequent visitors to the anti-acid bottles, no worries – even though it’s spicier, cayenne won’t give you heartburn. It actually has the opposite affect by stimulating enzymes in the digestive system, helping to prevent ulcers. Cayenne pepper has anti-inflammatory properties, as well. So if you’re experiencing a throbbing headache, nasal congestion, or just wanting a little boost for your immune system, a dash of cayenne pepper might do the trick!
Quick fix: Sprinkle cayenne pepper over a sultry mix of popcorn and roasted nuts.
Cinnamon is a well-known spice in the weight loss world. Countless studies have positively correlated it with a metabolic boosting influence, in fact it has been found cinnamon can increase sugar metabolism up to 20 times faster. But there’s more to cinnamon than its astounding metabolic benefits. It aides in cardiac health by reducing triglyceride and LDL levels, and helps stabilize blood sugars. Cinnamon can also help reduce pain and stiffness in muscles and joints, as well as, improve brain functions, like, memory and attention.
Quick fix: Combine plain greek yogurt, pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, nutmeg, cinnamon, and nuts to make a fast and healthy version of pumpkin pie.
Turmeric gives curry its yellow color and robust scent. The primary health-boosting element in turmeric is called curcumin. Curcumin decreases the formation of fat found around tissues by suppressing blood vessels. It also has copious anti-inflammatory properties strong enough to have affects similar to Advil and other pain medications. For those living with diabetes, turmeric can improve hyperglycemia and insulin resistance. In addition to all of this, evolving research has progressive findings regarding how turmeric may aide in many common day diseases such as, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and Parkinson’s disease.
Quick fix: Add a pinch of turmeric to your salad dressing, scrambled eggs, or rice.
Ginger, like the other spices talked about, has capital anti-inflammatory and thermogenic (the process of producing heat through metabolic stimulation) properties. Ginger boosts the metabolism by literally heating up the body, suppresses hunger pangs which ultimately reduces the risk of food binges, and lowers bad cholesterol levels. Ginger contains an impressive 25 different antioxidants, all helping to fight off free radicals in the body. But what it might be most known for is its digestive crusade. Ginger helps relax the intestinal tract helping you to digest better. It’s also a chief natural remedy for nausea. One study found consuming 1 gram of ginger before surgery was more effective than standard anti-nausea medications given post-surgery.
Quick fix: Stir in a pinch of ginger to your next cup of tea or glass of lemonade or juice.
All four of these spices are interchangeable and simple to add to your daily diet. Get inspired by mixing and matching them to make a meal, snack, or drink burst with a cascade of flavor. Better yet, you can’t go wrong considering they’re calorie-free and packed full of vitality!