Turmeric stands out in the limelight for its anti-inflammatory benefits. This bright yellow powder has potent amounts of curcumin, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound shown to relieve arthritis pain, manage diabetes, heart disease, cystic fibrosis, and a number of autoimmune diseases. In India, turmeric paste is even applied to wounds to speed healing. Consuming two teaspoons a day provides 10% of your daily value of iron and 17% of your daily manganese (nutriliving.com). Turmeric is a predominant ingredient in curry powder and can also be sprinkled over tofu or scrambled eggs. For those wanting a super powerful healing beverage, try golden milk, which uses a turmeric paste, almond milk, ginger, and honey mixed together to fight colds and alleviate inflammation.
Cinnamon was used by ancient Greeks and Romans to boost appetite and relieve indigestion (history.com). It is one of the most commonly used spices that can be sprinkled on oatmeal and is used in an array of baked goods. Just a small dash will provide half your day’s worth of manganese and it is an outstanding source of fiber. A few studies suggest that adding up to a teaspoon of cinnamon to your diet a day can help people with type 2 diabetes control their blood sugar by lowering post-meal blood sugar spikes. I think this is one of the best ways for people to strengthen blood sugar balance, and it’s normally fairly easy to add cinnamon to your food routines. Consistent intake may even prevent blood clots, relieve indigestion, and possibly enhance cardiac health. ADD: Cinnamon to your morning smoothie.
According to Karen Collins, RD, nutrition advisor to the American Institute for Cancer Research, “studies show that one to two cloves of garlic a week provide cancer-protective benefits (aicr.org).” Garlic may destroy cancer cells and disrupt the growth of tumor cells. It is also a stellar cold-fighter, lowers cholesterol and triglycerides, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Not only is it a godsend for your health, but its aroma and flavor will have guests flocking to your kitchen. It can be used in dipping oils, homemade salad dressings, Italian & Asian cuisine, and beyond. EASY SALAD DRESSING: 1 lemon juiced, 1 clove of garlic, ¼ cup olive oil, salt & pepper. Mix & Enjoy.
Ginger has been traditionally used in several cultures to soothe colds and stomach troubles. Gingerol, a potent chemical in ginger, helps decrease inflammation and blocks nerve pathways that process pain. A recent study showed that people who took ginger capsules for 11 consecutive days reported 25% less muscle pain when they performed exercises designed to strain their muscles vs. a similar group who took placebo capsules (nytimes.com). Ginger adds an enjoyable zing to teas, stir-fries, and pairs well with garlic and chili peppers. My favorite: Ginger TEA: Ginger, Lemon & Water, Steep & serve.
5.) Chili pepper/Cayenne pepper
Chili peppers are rich in vitamin A, reduce pain, fight free radicals, lower cholesterol, and boost immunity. Capsaicin is a powerful compound in chilies that can speed up your metabolism and increase your body’s fat burning abilities. It may also lower the risk of ulcers by boosting stomach cells’ ability to resist ulcer-causing bacteria. Use cayenne to add heat to Mexican and Thai dishes, but be careful not to overdo it. A little bit will go a long way, so add pinches at a time. Hot sauces also count here—so enjoy!