Thursday, January 5, 2012

Spice Up Your Health

by guest blogger Jody Perrecone

Did you know that spices not only enhance the flavors of food, they also come with numerous health benefits? Here are just a few examples of what replacing the salt shaker with spices can do:

Turmeric – has anti-inflammatory properties and supports liver function. Studies have shown turmeric to improve inflammatory bowel disease as well as help neutralize free radicals that can cause cell damage including suppressing cancer cell growth. Turmeric contains minerals manganese and iron. Include turmeric in potatoes, rice, broccoli, cauliflower, and lentil dishes.

Cinnamon – contains healing properties including those that reduce inflammation and help stabilize blood sugar. It has anti-microbial properties helping stop bacteria and fungal growth. Cinnamon contains calcium and manganese.  Use it in fruit dishes, oatmeal, squash, black bean dishes, and eggplant. 

Red Chili Peppers – either powder or flakes will add zip to any dish. They have pain relief properties, are anti-inflammatory, and are said to even help burn fat. Peppers contain vitamins A and C. Chili peppers help keep the immune system strong and help break up congestion. Add to Mexican, Thai, and Indian dishes, chili, and vegetables.

Ginger – Both fresh and ground ginger are anti-inflammatory and help relieve an upset stomach, nausea (including during pregnancy), motion sickness, and cold sweats. Some find ginger helps relieve pain from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Ginger contains magnesium, copper, potassium and helps boost the immune system. Add ginger to oriental dishes, carrots, sweet potatoes, stewed dishes, green tea, and vegetables.

Cumin – both seed and ground available. Cumin helps with nutrient absorption, liver function, has anti-carcinogenic properties, and boosts the immune system.  It contains iron, calcium and manganese.  Use in Mexican, Middle Eastern dishes as well as in lentils, beans, rice pilaf, vegetables, and fruit desserts.

Be creative!  Spicing up your food will add a new dimension to your favorite dishes and you’ll reap their health benefits.

Jody Perrecone is a corporate manager for the Coronary Health Improvement Project (CHIP). CHIP is an international wellness program focusing on lifestyle interventions to create a healthier workforce and reduce overall healthcare costs. Jody works with hospitals, corporations, and communities to offer CHIP programs throughout the U.S.

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