Top Health Boosting Spices You Need In Your Kitchen
Written by: Kavata Kithhome
As the weather changes, these spices can be used to not only spruce up your meals, but also help fortify your system as you brave the cold weather. I can tell you that to me, there is nothing worse than eating bland, dull spice-less food – one word: YUCK!
While salt is great, to me it is not a spice and offers no pizzazz to my food. I am always grateful for my mother and grandmother, because ever since I can remember, they always cooked food with different spices and herbs.
As a health coach, I am more interested in understanding what health benefits these spices have to offer and how I can continue to incorporate them into my meals more often.
Here are 9 of my favorite spices and reasons why you should try incorporating them into your life too.
Is it any wonder this garlic made the list? I am sure that you know that garlic helps normalize your cholesterol and acts like a natural intensive cleaner in the arteries by how it breaks up fat molecules. It also helps generate nitrous oxide, which helps relax blood vessels, ultimately decreasing the blood pressure. And as if that weren’t enough, garlic is a thermogenic and helps speed up your metabolism.
How can you add this great spice, herb and tubular into your meals? You can use it in the food that you are cooking, but my favorite way to use it is as a garnish over my already cooked food. I find that it goes with almost anything savory from breakfast to dinner and really elevates my food. Here is an easy recipe you can begin using today.
You will need:
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 1 teaspoon of olive oil
- 1 green cayenne pepper (optional)
Finely dice the garlic cloves and cayenne pepper, add the teaspoon of olive oil and enjoy.
This root tends to make a debut on every health conscious person, health coach, chef and nutritionist’s list. At Fitlife, we love ginger. Ginger – like garlic – enhances thermogenesis and helps reduce hunger. It has a long history of use for relieving digestive problems such as nausea, loss of appetite, motion sickness and pain.
How can you use ginger? One of my favorite ways to use ginger is in my juice. I juice a whole knob, about 2 inches worth in my juice. I love to have it in my tea as well. Here is an easy ginger tea recipe I know you will love.
You will need:
- 1 ginger root
- 1-2 teaspoon of turmeric (optional)
- 1-2 of water depending how strong you would like it
1. Peel the ginger and slice.
2. Put ginger, turmeric and water into pot and bring to a boil, let steep and then cool to desired temp, serve and enjoy.
I use cinnamon in my soups, curries, red pasta sauce, oatmeal and tea. This spice lessens the production of insulin, which helps keep your blood sugar at healthy levels and if that wasn’t enough, it also delays the rate your stomach empties, which means you feel fuller longer, so no more going to the vending machine for an unhealthy snack.
The easiest way to take in cinnamon is sprinkling a little in your favorite tea. It adds a yummy edge and also can help with calming you down at the end of the day.
I recently came to like mustard; for the longest time, it had a funny smell and I couldn’t stand the color. Now however, I love to add it to my turkey burgers and baked chicken. Mustard has one of the highest metabolism-boosting effects.
#5. Black Pepper
I call black pepper “salt’s soulmate.” It is a staple in most kitchens and offers thermogenic effects that help alleviate sluggish digestion. I normally mix my peppers, red, white and black together and love to mill my peppercorns for fresh pepper.
I love to add black pepper to my kefir and turmeric mix to help my body absorb the turmeric. I must warn you though, this mix is not for the faint of heart, but the health benefits makes it worth it.
I put cumin in almost everything, even my Italian food. This spice is popular in South America and the Middle Eastern countries. It is a great digestive aid and offers a delicious, spicy and yummy fragrance to your food.
I add it to my greens, meats and my curry. Try this delicious recipe.
I love cardamom. Did I mention I love cardamom? It is a flavorful, fragrant and powerful natural detox spice that is a great digestive aid and a powerful immunity booster. This spice can be found in pod form or ground. If you were wondering what it tastes like, I would say it is tastes like a cross between citrus and pepper and is awesome in baked goods and Indian dishes.
I use it in my tea; I know there is a tea theme here, but I brew my black tea with about 2-3 pods of cardamom for a delicious detoxifying mix.
#8. Cayenne Pepper
I may not be the best person to ask for a great recipe with cayenne pepper, because I am of the school of thought that cayenne goes with and in everything. So it would be irresponsible of me if I didn’t tell you that a little goes a long way. But what I can tell you is that from a health coach, cayenne pepper is great for increasing your metabolism and boosts fat-burning by up to 25%. Consider adding a little bit in your meals to spice things up.
I saved the best of the best for last, because so much can be said about the super powers of turmeric; there has been tons written about it. I won’t bore you with a laundry list of reasons why you should be taking turmeric everyday. Instead I will offer you one of my favorite recipes with turmeric.
You will need:
- 1 head of chopped savoy cabbage
- 1 red onion
- 1 bunch of fresh cilantro
- 1 ½ tablespoon of Salt
- ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
- 1-3 generous spoons of coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon of cayenne (or more, I always go for more)
- Generous amount of turmeric (enough to turn the cabbage yellow)
1. Melt the coconut oil.
2. Add onion and sauté until almost brown.
3. Add the apple cider vinegar and let simmer until the smell of vinegar evaporates.
4. Add spice, turmeric, cayenne and salt and let simmer into bubbly mix.
5. Add cilantro and let cook to wilt.
6. Add savoy cabbage and let mix all ingredients until all cabbage is yellowish.
7. Lower heat and let cook for a about 5-10 minutes or until desired crunch.
*** I like mine crunchy and add my garlic garnish and an added kick.
Do you have any staple spices and herbs in your kitchen? Please share your favorites in the comments below.
Kavata Kithome is an advocate for living your best life, full of health and longevity. While working closely with gym owners and personal trainers, she was able to sculpt a well-rounded view of fitness and understands how to incorporate it with a healthy balanced diet. She is a regular contributor to the One More Step Lifestyle brand.
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