Five spices you should eat often

Five healthy spices that you should integrate into your food are ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, coriander and fennel seeds.

by Toffler Niemuth — 

Spices have been used for millennia for the wonderful flavors they give food and drinks, but only recently have scientists begun to correlate spices with their health benefits.

Five healthy spices that you should integrate into your food are ginger, cinnamon, turmeric, coriander and fennel seeds.

Ginger — Popular in Asian cooking, ginger is an often overlooked spice in Western kitchens. Researchers are now realizing that it is useful in the treatment of diseases, ranging from migraines to cancer. Below are some of ginger’s specific attributes.

  • It is effective in the prevention and treatment of nausea and vomiting, especially morning sickness.
  • It is a natural, powerful painkiller.
  • It is known for preventing and speeding up recovery times from colds and the flu.
  • Ginger tea helps in reducing menstrual cramps.
  • It reduces the risk of kidney damage.

Cinnamon — Though commonly used to add flavor to desserts or coffee, cinnamon offers far more than a rich taste.

  • Its number one health benefit is stabilizing blood glucose.
  • It can be used to treat menstrual disorders and cramps.
  • Chinese medicine asserts its effectiveness in treating coughs that produce phlegm.
  • As cinnamon encourages blood flow and warms the body, it treats poor blood circulation and cold limbs.

Turmeric — The bright yellow-orange spice that is often used in Indian food is a powerhouse of not only flavor but also health benefits. Recent research shows curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric root, can inhibit the spread of cancer and reduce inflammation and pain. In addition:

  • It acts as a natural liver detoxifier.
  • By increasing fat metabolism, turmeric aids weight management.
  • It is used to treat depression in traditional Chinese medicine.
  • Indonesian traditional healing uses turmeric to relieve menstrual cramps.

Coriander — The seeds of the cilantro plant, known as coriander seeds, have high levels of anti-oxidants, and produce an anti-inflammatory effect that reduces arthritic pain.

  • Coriander is useful for digestion, and prevents flatulence and nausea.
  • It protects against bacterial and urinary tract infections.
  • Coriander lowers LDL cholesterol while raising good HDL cholesterol.
  • It lowers blood sugar.

Fennel seeds — Used in China for their anti-venomous qualities, fennel seeds’ benefits include reducing inflammation and calming an upset stomach.

  • They are rich in anti-oxidants, vitamin C and potassium.
  • The seeds may protect against liver diseases and cancer.
  • In nursing mothers, they can increase milk secretion.
  • They address hormonal issues, from relieving menstrual cramps to regulating hormonal changes during menopause.

Spices are no longer just for improving taste and palatability of foods; they are increasingly renowned for their health-enhancing properties, as well.


Toffler Niemuth is a holistic health coach who integrates nutrition, supplements and her understanding of Chinese medicine and Indian medicine (Ayurveda) to help clients make the right changes to feel dramatically better. or 949-328-4823.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 31, Number 4, August/September 2012.

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