7 Spices for Weight Loss, Immunity and Healing (Plus Tasty Ways to Use Them)
By Karen Azeez
What does spicy mean to you?
Sexy, exotic, hot, tasty, adventurous, bold… Whatever your definition, more spice sounds like a good idea!
From boosting your nutrition, speeding up weight loss and fending off diet boredom, to treating common maladies and preventing disease, herbs and spices are basically the unspoken hero of the food world.
The sad truth is that, in the U.S. today, herbs and spices take a back seat when it comes to flavor. Fast food restaurants and big food companies use tons of fat, salt and sugar instead of fresh ingredients. It’s unhealthy to begin with and just makes you crave more fat, sugar and salt – yuck!
What can they do for you?
Whether you’re trying to lose weight or just stay healthy, using herbs and spices keeps your palette excited and happy without extra calories and subsequently may decrease the amount of salt, fat and sugar you consume. That’s also good news for people watching sodium intake for high blood pressure or other reasons. Tastier foods are more satisfying than bland ones, which you tend to eat faster and with less enjoyment. If you’re not satisfied, you’re more likely to overeat.
Herbs and spices add more than just flavor to your meals, they actually help protect against certain chronic conditions, such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease and boost your overall immunity and health without the side effects of prescription and over-the-counter meds.
Spices are virtually effortless to have on hand and to use. They need very little space in the kitchen. Ground spices don’t require chopping or preparing; just a simple shake or spoonful will do.
So, here are 7 amazing – and powerful – spices with easy and delicious ways to incorporate them into your daily meals:
1. Cinnamon – can lower blood sugar, triglycerides, LDL and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes. Add it to your morning oatmeal or try a healthy dessert of berries or bananas dipped in organic greek yogurt mixed with cinnamon and honey.
2. Rosemary – stops gene mutations that could lead to cancer and may help prevent damage to the blood vessels that raise heart attack risk. Rub it on chicken or potatoes before roasting, or add it to your favorite oil to make an aromatic dressing for grilled veggies.
3. Garlic – just two cloves a week destroys cancer cells and boosts immunity. Saute fresh garlic over low heat and mix with spinach or zucchini noodles (“zoodles”), olive oil, pignolis and red pepper. Use it raw in salad dressings.
4. Paprika/Peppers/Cayenne – contain capsaicin, whose anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects may lower the risk of cancer. Capsaicin also boosted fat-burning capacity when people ate it three times a day. Add paprika to a quiche; add some heat to a soup or stew with a touch of cayenne or make a home version of fajitas with stir fried veggies, shrimp sprinkled with red pepper flakes.
5. Ginger – can decrease motion sickness and nausea; it may also relieve pain and swelling associated with arthritis. For motion sickness, try having one or two pieces of crystallized ginger. Add freshly chopped ginger to stir fries and sweet potatoes, as well as fresh fruit (especially peaches).
6. Oregano – has the highest antioxidant activity of 27 fresh culinary herbs. Sprinkle it to spice up tomato soup, use it in chili and tacos and bake a mean chicken breast with a touch of olive oil and this next powerful herb.
7. Cardamom – is used in alternative medicine to remove toxins. It has also been linked to anti-tumor activity. While commonly used in curries, rice dishes and chai tea, try it as a rub for chicken or tofu, or add it to coffee.
I’d love to hear from you! Comment below and let me know which one of these is your favorite and how you use it.
Health Coach, Wellness Expert and Freelance Writer
at Well Beings
Karen Azeez is a health coach, wellness expert and freelance writer. Karen helps busy men and women incorporate simple lifestyle changes into their daily routine to address issues such as weight gain, insomnia, stress and digestion problems. Karen enjoys cooking healthy meals, hiking with her husband and border collie and watching way too many TV shows about wedding dress shopping.
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