By Steven V. Joyal, MD, VP of Medical & Scientific Affairs at Life Extension.
Spices add delicious flavors and tantalizing aromas to food, but many people don’t realize that spices offer a variety of beneficial, potentially lifesaving, health benefits. Consider your spice rack as a kind of natural medicine cabinet, and unleash amazing health benefits while you spice up your life with the following five spices!
Cinnamon: Derived from the bark of the tree bearing the same name, cinnamon is high in antioxidant activity. Clinical studies show beneficial changes in blood sugar control in patients with type 2 diabetes dosed with cinnamon spice from one to three grams daily. Experimental research suggests that cinnamon may reduce the likelihood that cells in the colon undergo cancerous changes. Essential oils of cinnamon have antimicrobial activity, too, and this helps provide a scientific basis for cinnamon’s traditional use as a natural treatment for diarrhea.
Western medicine is starting to pay attention to traditional healing herbs. “We’re now starting to see a scientific basis for why people have been using spices medicinally for thousands of years,” says Bharat Aggarwal, Ph.D., professor at the University of Texas Anderson Cancer Center. Although it’s difficult to say that spices can cure disease, they can be beneficial when fighting a variety of health conditions, from Alzheimer’s disease and cancer to the common cold.
Here are six of the healthiest spices from around the world, gathered by Eating Well.
Try it in: Turkey Tomato Soup
Sage may help preserve memory, a fitting benefit for its name. Some research suggests that it can help regulate enzymes in the brain to prevent the deterioration of acetylcholine, improving symptoms that lead to Alzheimer’s disease. Herbalists also recommend sipping on hot sage tea to sooth sore throats and upset stomachs.