“Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.” Greek Physician Hippocrates
#1 Cinnamon, Ceylon
Antioxidant #1 of all spices outranks even garlic. Cinnamon aids blood sugar regulation, decreases insulin-resistance (precursor to diabetes type 2). So besides tasting awesome, and used all over the world in savoury and sweet dishes, it curbs cravings for sugary treats. It also has potent anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal effects and fights infections. more, it may help with the prevention of heart disease and increases good cholesterol (HDL). Also, it assist with neuro-degenerative diseases like Alzheimer or Parkinson, and may be protective in cancer treatments. Trials to fight the HIV-1 virus show promise as well. A miracle spice.
Note: Use real cinnamon called ‘Ceylon cinnamon’, NOT Cassia Cinnamon (the regular one in supermarkets)
Mainly used: African/Indian cooking, or sweet European pastries
#2 Pepper, Black
Rated one of the worlds healthiest and most beneficial foods, black pepper was used as currency for a long time. It has antioxidant and antibacterial effects and helps digestion by increasing Hydrochloric acid levels in the stomach. It also helps to breaks down proteins and fats, and prevents the forming of gases in the intestines. Whole black Peppercorns should be kept in sealed glass container (cool, dark and dry storage), and will keep almost indefinitely.
Note: buy as organic pepper corns and grind yourself for maximum, fresh quality.
Recipe suggestions: peppered steak or potatoes…
Ground from 6 varieties of dried bell peppers (ranging from mild to hot), this spice is not just used to add color to dishes (with only a small amount needed), but is also rich in vitamin C and carotenoids, and so provides health and beauty benefits.It has various skin benefits, like glowing skin, lightens complexion and anti-ageing and can be used to treat spider veins. It prevents hair loss and maintains hair colour.
It is loaded with antioxidants and vitamins, lowers blood sugar, has anti-inflammatory properties and aids in lowering blood pressure due to its content of Capsaicin relaxing the blood vessels. More, it promotes good sleep, aids in wound healing, can improve eye sight, assists digestion, may prevent anemia and has antibacterial effects. Also it’s amount of co-enzyme B6 provides energy, helping 100 enzymes in the body to function better.
Note: To obtain all its potent nutrients, buy organic.
Cumin aids as a digestive, and helps treating respiratory issues like bronchitis or asthma as an expectorant (anti-congestive). With its properties aiding the treatment of the common cold, piles, anemia, skin disorders or lactation it caries a wide amount of benefits. It has anti-cancer, detoxifying properties and may even prevent diabetes. Its essential oils and some of its components are hypnotic in nature and have tranquilizing effects, which also help to relieve stress and anxiety that commonly causes insomnia. Plus, it aids cognitive function and concentration, due to its high amounts in iron which stimulates blood flow and oxygen supply to the brain. Also, Cumin boosts immunity and has anti-viral properties.
Note: Used mainly in African and Indian cooking, net time you make roast chicken encrust it with cumin seeds, etc.
Commonly known now of being superior to many medications, Turmeric due to its bioactive compounds (mainly Curcumin) has so many benefits I could write about it all day.Turmeric benefits go beyond these 10 drugs (according to draxe.com/turmeric-benefits): Anti-inflammatory drugs, Anti-depressants (Prozac), Chemotherapy, Anti-coagulants (Aspirin), Pain killers, Diabetes drugs (Metformin), Arthritis medications, Inflammatory bowel disease drugs, Cholesterol drugs (Lipitor) and Steroids.It is a powerful root, dried and ground to a power with anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory properties that not only improves brain function and helps with depression and Alzheimer disease, but also lowers risk of heart disease, delays aging processes and reduces the growth of cancerous cells. The pains of Arthritis can significantly be reduced by regular intake of high dosages of curcumin.Simply use it as often as possible for anything. 🙂
Note: If using for medicinal purposes take curcumin extract as Turmeric only contains 3% of it. Make sure you find a supplement with added bioperine (another name for piperine), enhancing absorption of curcumin by 2000%. You can also grow turmeric root yourself.
Food: Any Indian food uses usually turmeric. You can get turmeric paste from the health food shop or by the roots at your local farmers market.
Ginger with its long history of use in various forms of medicine, has been used to help digestion, reduce nausea, seasickness and help fight the flu and common cold. Its main bioactive compound Gingerol has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
Coming from a root, it can be eaten fresh, drunk as a tea, or dried and ground to use as a spice. It aids in reducing muscle and menstrual pains, osteoarthritis, lowers blood sugar and decreases risks of heart disease for patients with type 2 diabetes as it leads to significant reductions of LDL cholesterol and blood triglyceride levels. It is also researched to improve brain function and protect against Alzheimer and used freshly it fights infections inhibiting the growth of certain bacteria.
Taken before a meal showed that ginger can help with indigestion, speeding up the emptying of the stomach. Eaten raw it may have powerful anti-cancer properties, especially pancreatic, breast or ovarian cancer (more research needs to be done).
Note: You can grow the ‘super-root’ ginger easily yourself. Store whole, unpeeled root in a resealable plastic bag (push air out) to put in the crisper drawer of your fridge (but don’t forget it there).
Recipe suggestions: Bake into cakes/ cookies, drink as tea, or spiced Chai tea, also used in larger amounts in African / Indian cooking.
As family member of the Allium/lily family garlic rather belongs with the onions, shallots and leeks. It grows underground as a vegetable bulb and is hard to define as a spice, but it is used world wide as an addition to many dishes, like a spice, so I needed to add it to this super spice list.
Garlic contains Allicin, which has medicinal properties, is low in calories, but high in nutrition. High with Manganese, vitamin C and B6 it is a powerhouse against fighting flues and colds reducing their course of length by many days and boosting our immunesystem.
As many other spices it seems to reduce LDL cholesterol levels and decreases the risk of heart disease and contains antioxidants that may aid in preventing Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia.
It is a strong detoxifier of heavy metals, is anti-fungal, anti-viral, and antibacterial (fighting infections). It also improves bone health, and last but not least it fights all kinds of cancers and reduces risk to grow cancerous cells.
Note: Garlic is simple to integrate in our diets. Even if only in our salad dressing. Usually raw, fresh garlic has more health benefits than when cooked. If you add it to your cooked meals, do it right at the end.
If using against a cold, I give my daughter a whole clove of garlic chopped up, mix it with honey and peanut butter and on a tablespoon all at once in the mouth. Works like a charm.