Spices with awesome benefits!

Fruits, vegetables, dark chocolate and red wine are often the foods most commonly associated with antioxidants.  But there are an abundance of herbs and spices that also are rich in antioxidants.  Some herbs and spices have been shown to help protect against ailments like cancer, diabetes, heart disease and more.  So next time you’re in the kitchen, reach for an extra a pinch of the right seasonings and you’ll be on your way to healthier eating.

Here are 5 spices with awesome benefits, as well as some tips on how to add them to your next meal!

1.  Turmeric:

This brightly coloured spice contains the antioxidant curcumin and has long been used in Chinese and Indian medicine. It has been prescribed as an anti-inflammatory agent to help treat a variety of conditions, including flatulence, menstrual cramps, toothaches, chest pain, and even colic.  Not only can it help treat current conditions, studies have shown it has preventative properties for illnesses like Alzheimer's, inflammatory diseases and even cancer. Add Turmeric to any vegetable side dish for some added flavour. This spice is best when cooked for a few minutes before eating.


2.  Cumin:

It’s a good source of iron.  Studies of this spice have shown potential for lowering blood glucose, as well as the ability to improve immunity, insomnia, respiratory disorders, asthma, the common cold, and cancer. It also has antibacterial properties, which in some studies was shown to kill bacteria linked with stomach ulcers. Spice up any savoury dish with Cumin and prepare your tastebuds for a wonderful worldly flavour.


3.  Cloves:

Compared to other herbs and spices, cloves are antioxidant superstars.  They have been studied extensively, with most research looking at the benefits of eugenol.  Eugenol is an active ingredient in cloves that shows promising effects on digestive tract cancers and joint inflammation. Use ground cloves in place of cinnamon in baked goods like muffins and cookies, or just sprinkle it on your morning oatmeal.  


4.  Ginger:

This root has a number of different compounds, one of them being Gingerol which is known for having anti-inflammatory properties.  It can help ward off pain and inflammation of the muscles and joints. It is also known to be rather effective in eliminating gas in the intestines, and aids in the relaxation of one’s digestive tract. Ginger can be a tasty addition to teas, smoothies or even yogurt.

5.  Saffron:

This mood-boosting spice may help those feeling down.  Studies have shown it has natural anti-depressant qualities.  This is one of the most expensive spices due to the intensive labour required to produce it.  It goes nicely in soups or stews with a middle eastern flavour, but remember a little goes a long way.  Only a pinch is needed to spice an entire dish.  Make sure to mix well to distribute the flavour evenly.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

More Eat Well. Feel Well. Live Well. articles

About the Author

KyLee Fournier is a certified sports nutritional consultant, living in Kelowna, BC who helps clients across North America make better decisions regarding what they eat.  Her specialty is plant-based nutrition.  She's also one of the minds behind www.Vegbelly.com, a site that interviews leaders in the vegetarian and vegan community.


Website link:  www.kyleefournier.com

Contact e-mail address:  [email protected]


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories