Healthy Spices

According to EATING WELL

Turmeric

Pairs well with: Garlic; citrus; ingredients in curry powder, such as coriander & cumin
May help: Quell inflammation, inhibit tumors.
Recipe to try: Golden Turmeric Latkes with Applesauce and More Turmeric Recipes

In India, turmeric paste is applied to wounds to speed healing; people sip turmeric tea to relieve colds and respiratory problems. Modern medicine confirms some solid-gold health benefits as well; most are associated with curcumin, a compound in turmeric that has potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin has been shown to help relieve pain of arthritis, injuries and dental procedures; it’s also being studied for its potential in managing heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

Researcher Bharat Aggarwal is bullish on curcumin’s potential as a cancer treatment, particularly in colon, prostate and breast cancers; preliminary studies have found that curcumin can inhibit tumor cell growth and suppress enzymes that activate carcinogens.


Cinnamon

Pairs well with: Cloves; nutmeg; allspice; chocolate; fruit; nuts
May help: Stabilize blood sugar.
Recipe to try: Cinnamon Bread Pudding with Cranberry-Raisin Sauce and More Cinnamon Recipes

Cinnamon was prized by King Solomon and used by the ancient Greeks and Romans to boost appetite and relieve indigestion. A few studies suggest that adding cinnamon to food—up to a teaspoon a day, usually given in capsule form—might help people with type 2 diabetes better control their blood sugar, by lowering post-meal blood-sugar spikes. Other studies suggest the effects are limited at best.


Chile Pepper

Pairs well with: Ginger; chocolate; beans; beef
May help: Boost metabolism.
Recipe to try: Paprika & Red Pepper Soup with Pistachio Puree and More Chile Pepper Recipes

Chiles, which create sensations of heat, from mild to fiery, are especially prized in hot climates since, ironically, the spice helps trigger the body’s natural cooling systems. Studies show that capsaicin—a pungent compound in hot chiles—revs up the body’s metabolism and may boost fat burning, but the jury is still out on whether that translates to long-term weight loss. Recent research found that capsinoids, similar but gentler chemicals found in milder chile hybrids, have the same effects—so even tamer sweet paprika packs a healthy punch. Capsaicin may also lower risk of ulcers by boosting the ability of stomach cells to resist infection by ulcer-causing bacteria and help the heart by keeping “bad” LDL cholesterol from turning into a more lethal, artery-clogging form.

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