Top 5 Herbs and Spices to Add to Your Daily Cooking
BySarah Axtell, ND •February 13, 2022
You likely have many of these “medicines” in your kitchen cabinet. Season your food liberally with these herbs and spices to not only deepen the flavor of your cuisine, but to also prevent chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, alzheimer’s and cancer. Here are my top 5:
1. Turmeric- Active ingredient- Curcumin
- Reduces inflammation, enhances memory, improves mood, and supports a healthy immune system.
- How to best consume: Turmeric is best absorbed with a fat and black pepper. This makes Indian dishes, such as curry cooked in coconut milk, a perfect nutrition pairing. Aim for 2 teaspoons daily. You can add turmeric to soups, stews, curries, eggs, stir-fries or even smoothies.
Favorite recipes with turmeric:
Yellow Lentil Dahl with Ginger and Turmeric
Anti-Inflammatory Coconut Turmeric Bites
Turmeric Roasted Detox Veggies
2. Ginger – Active ingredient(s)- Gingerol and Shogaol
- Anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory
- High in antioxidants, which help slow the aging process
- Promotes good blood circulation
- Immune strengthening- antimicrobial
- Culinary uses: Available dried or fresh. Use in stir-fries and curries. Can drink as a hot ginger tea.
See here for more info and recipes with ginger.
- Rich in Chlorophyll- Chlorophyll is the “green blood of plants.” Chlorophyll closely resembles a component of our red blood cells, hemoglobin. The hemoglobin in our blood is virtually identical to the molecular structure of chlorophyll. This means that it is a powerful blood cleanser and blood purifier
- Cilantro is also a potent chelating agent, meaning it reduces toxic heavy metals from our bodies, such as lead and mercury.
Favorite recipes with cilantro:
Creamy Purple Cabbage Slaw with Cilantro
4. Cinnamon- Active ingredient(s)- Cinaminic acid and Cinnamaldehyde
- Anti-diabetic activity, blood sugar regulation
Favorite recipes with cinnamon:
5. Cayenne pepper– Active ingredient- Capsaicin
- Thermogenic, meaning it helps to boost the metabolism and burn fat
- Enhances libido
- Cardio-protective (beneficial for heart health) and anti-inflammatory
Favorite recipe with cayenne pepper:
All these health effects of each spice are additive as they are best used on a regular basis and even together. Spices work synergistically together (as in the case of turmeric and black pepper, for example). All spices listed above can actually all be used as apart of a good curry. It may take some stepping outside your comfort zone to try these spices so maybe you just start with incorporating one new herb per week in your diet. Ethnic recipes, such as Indian and Thai, tend to incorporate many of these spices listed. And don’t forget to polish off your Indian curry with a square or two of dark chocolate to reap the heart-healthy benefits of flavonoids found in cacao.
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.