Campus Essentials - Put Some Spice in your Life!
You’re not doing yourself any favors by leaving your food unflavored. Herbs and spices are good for more than just seasoning a dish – they’re loaded with health benefits. Add these items to your grocery list, stock up those empty spice cabinet shelves, and make a habit of spicing it up!
Cinnamon: It’s good for more than apple pie filling and sprinkling on lattes. Cinnamon lowers blood sugar levels, especially in people with diabetes (WebMD). According to Organic Authority, cinnamon can lower bad cholesterol, relieve arthritis pain, fight E. coli bacteria, relieve migraines, and stabilize blood sugar (which is great for dieters!).
Add a dash of cinnamon to your morning coffee or tea, sprinkle it on top of a banana with almond butter, or load it into your favorite bowl of oatmeal.
Oregano: Also known as marjoram, this common Italian seasoning packs a punch of Vitamin K which protects the cardio vascular system. It’s also host to minerals like iron and is loaded with fiber and Omega-3’s (Mark’s Daily Apple).
Oregano in its fresh leaf and bottled oil forms is full of antioxidants (42 times more than what an apple offers!) and is an effective anti-bacterial. Unfortunately, the less expensive dried variety of the herb doesn’t possess antioxidants or anti-bacterial qualities (WHFoods), but is beneficial regardless.
Basil goes hand-in-hand with oregano and has many of the same qualities. Use these herbs to season your favorite pasta dish, add to vegetable soup for an amazing addition of flavor, or sprinkle over a stir-fry for an unexpected taste.
Cayenne: This common South American spice kills cancer cells, revs the metabolism, adjusts blood pressure levels, and cleans the arteries of bad cholesterol. This wonder-spice is also a godsend to the stomach and intestinal tract. It aids in digestion and rebuilds tissue in the stomach (cayennepepper.info).
Add cayenne to mashed avocado and spread on a wrap sandwich for a little extra heat. It’s also great added to lentil recipes and any vegetable-based soup.
Black pepper: This ultimate spice not only stimulates taste buds, but is a great aid to digestion. It easily minimizes and can even erase the effects of heartburn and indigestion (squidoo.com). Black pepper also acts as a diuretic by relieving the body of water, ultimately doing the opposite of its partner-in-crime, salt.
When suffering from a common cold, add black pepper to your morning eggs or afternoon salad. The spice breaks up congestion and its antibacterial properties kill germs (voices.yahoo.com). Its flavor goes well with just about anything, so experiment!
Turmeric: According to nasm.org, this curry spice is an excellent anti-oxidant and inflammatory agent. Thanks to its composition of polyphenols (free-radical stabilizers which are important for cells), turmeric supports a healthy brain and can prevent chronic disease, like Alzheimer’s.
Turmeric can also lower triglycerides and free fatty acids, which is great for weight loss! It’s also been shown to protect the body from radiation-induced tumors and stops the spread of cancer cells.
Turmeric is a good seasoning for potatoes or turnips and adding to tea. Curry powder is great paired with chicken dishes or mixing with chickpeas, grains, and vegetables.
So, who knew increasing overall health was as easy as adding a little flavor to your foods? By using herbs and spices on a daily basis, you’ll be increasing your metabolism, protecting your heart, absorbing more vitamins, and list goes on. Not to mention, the things you’re eating will taste a whole lot better!