5 Superfood Spices for the Holidays

Did you know that some of the superfood ingredients that can improve your health and vitality are likely hiding out in your very own kitchen?  They may be sneaking their way in to your holiday treats and dishes bringing warmth, sweetness, and nourishing goodness.I make a point to use these spices on a regular basis.  Not only do I love the warm and comforting flavors they offer, but the health benefits are powerful!  Including these spices in your food is one of your best forms of protection for prolonged health over the holidays … and all year long!


#1 Cinnamon
This spice might be a common childhood favorite, but it is far from ordinary.  Cinnamon brings a warm flavor to any sweet dish, but also helps your body balance blood sugar levels.  Recent research shows that a mere 1/2 teaspoon a day helped improve blood glucose levels in those with Type 2 Diabetes.  Consider adding cinnamon liberally to apples, oatmeal, grains, or desserts.


#2 Cardamom
Cardamom is known as the “queen of spices”, with it’s strong and distinct flavor.  It’s one of the most-used spices in the world, commonly featured in Indian curries, Scandanavian breads, and Middle Eastern teas.  Cardamom is highly valued for it’s medicinal properties in Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine.  It is used for indigestion, nausea, vomiting, and preventing stomach aches and gas.  The cardamom seeds are chewed to sweeten the breath, reduce phlem, and minimize the acidic effects of coffee.


#3 Ginger
Ginger is widely recognized for it’s anti-nausea effects.  Those suffering from motion sickness, morning sickenss, and chemotherapy-induced nausea often find ginger is a saving grace. As a digestive aid, ginger promotes saliva and bile flow, minimizes gas and bloating, and boosts the absorption of nutrients.  Ginger root is often used as a whole food, ground spice, or made into a warming tea (a delicious after-dinner drink).  You know that pink stuff traditionally served with sushi – well, that’s pickled ginger.  And, during the holidays, ginger takes center-stage in gingerbread and gingersnaps {YUM!}.


#4 Cloves
Have you ever noticed that an orange spiked with cloves lasts forever?  This spice has been used through the ages as a preservative because it kills bacteria and parasites and keeps mold away.  Who knew something so tasty had these super-powers?  Cloves have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda to treat respiratory and digestive ailments, as the cloves can boost stomach acid and aid in digestion.  In terms of flavor, a little goes a long way.  Cloves are best in sweet or spicy dishes and are great in marinades and desserts.  Or, try adding to a foot bath to relieve athlete’s foot.



#5 Turmeric
Turmeric is widely celebrated for it’s potent anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effects.  Turmeric boost the bodies ability to produce antioxidants, thereby quelching free radicals.  Turmeric is a brightly colored yellow spice that has been long-used in Asian and Indian cultures both internally and externally.  In fact, some of the longest living people in the world are in Okinawa, Japan and their longevity is partially attributed to their frequent use of turmeric.  Turmeric is primarily used in curries, but consider adding it to teas, and smoothies.  Time to get your turmeric on!


Show me yours, and I’ll show you mine!
What are your favorite ways to use these spices?  I’d love to hear in the comments below.

 

And – stay tuned – next week I’ll be sharing one of my all-time favorite easy + delicious ways to get a regular dose of these super-spices!

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