Spices are a simple, delicious way to add oomph to your meals, and also boost your health and immunity."The knowledge surrounding the healing and health powers of spices dates back many centuries," explains Chiro One Wellness Center of Plano's chiropractic director, Dr. Tushar Rawalji. "Now doctors and scientists have a better understanding of their uses." Want more specifics? Check out the top spices Dr. Tushar recommends to his patients:
Cinnamon: This common spice brings baking and holiday cheer to mind. It also has insulin-like factors that can help maintain blood glucose levels, decrease high cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Of all the spices, cinnamon has the highest source of antioxidants. Sprinkle some on your next hot beverage, on top of apple slices or in your cereal daily.
Ginger: If you have digestive issues, nausea or headaches, ginger is your go-to spice. Chemotherapy patients find relief from consuming ginger as it aids in calming the digestive tract. Enjoy ginger by adding it, minced, to sautéed or steamed vegetables. It even tastes great in smoothies.
Turmeric: If you're a fan of Indian food, you've likely had a helping of tumeric in your curry. In a 2011 study, doctors at UCLA found that curcumin, the main component in turmeric, appeared to block an enzyme that promotes the growth of head and neck cancer. Add this yellow-colored spice into your next pasta or vegetable dish or blend it into homemade salad dressing.
Find the Best Spices
Beyond your regular grocery store, Dr. Tushar recommends that you look for both common and unique spices in Asian grocery stores. Also, check out spice offerings in organic specialty shops because some mainstream commercial-brands alter spices from their natural form.
"Remember that what you eat largely determines your health and you're in control of this. Especially if you happen to be the cook in your home," says Dr. Tushar. "A good rule of thumb is to slowly introduce spices into your meals to see which ones suit your palate." If you are on prescription medication, be sure to contact your primary care physician first before changing your diet. Otherwise, enjoy the new flavors and know that while you're spicing up your life, you're also improving your health.