Spices That Add More Than Just Flavor

(photo by Pratiksha Mohanty)

We typically only think of spices only in terms of flavor, what they can add to a dish concerning only our taste buds. But they're so much more than that! They've been used for ages not only to spice up a meal, but also as fundamental tools in medicine. Loaded with nutrients and health benefits, spices are such a powerful tool we have at our disposal, if we'll only utilize them. Try adding some of these into your diet and reap both the nutritional and palatable benefits:

Vibrant in color, turmeric is fantastic for fighting inflammation in the body, supporting liver function, and soothing joint pain in cases such as arthritis. Ever heard of golden milk? It's a delicious tea recipe that's been around for thousands of years, often used as a healing tonic. Try it for yourself! It's a delicious, sweet treat that's great right before bed. I also sprinkle a little turmeric on my eggs at breakfast!
Recipe to try: Turmeric Pancakes

Ginger has been used for medicinal purposes for as long as it's been around, being both anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal, great for blood pressure, and beneficial to digestion and nausea. I mean, who hasn't been sick with a stomach flu and had their mom rush out to the store to by a bottle of ginger ale? Ginger pairs great with sweets (think gingerbread and gingersnaps), but it can also add a lot to savory dishes.
Recipe to try: Homemade Ginger Ale

Metabolism booster and flavor powerhouse. Cayenne can clear up congestion and and has cancer-fighting properties. Now, personally, I'm a total wussy when it comes to spiciness, but if you can handle it, definitely consider adding some more cayenne into your diet.
Recipe to try: Watermelon Cayenne Juice

There ain't a tree bark that's tastier than cinnamon. Like the others, it's anti-inflammatory and full of antioxidants. And cinnamon not only tastes great when paired with something sweet, but when consumed it also slows the absorption of glucose in the body, meaning less of a blood sugar spike.(This isn't exactly an excuse to gorge on Cinnabons, but you get the picture.)
And despite whichever kind you use (there's Cassia, the more common, cheaper version or Ceylon, known for being the "true cinnamon" that's higher quality and more expensive) the most important aspect is the freshness of the spice. Here's how to identify "real" cinnamon if you're curious, though.
Recipe to try: Paleo Cinnamon Rolls

Shoutout to all the spices that do so much more for us than just make a dish tastier!

xo Mel

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