May 15, 2013

Spices With Health Benefits

Did you know that sprinkling cinnamon on your food helps control blood sugar levels and using ginger can ease nausea? There are other less familiar spices that offer health benefits as well. In some cases, spices can be just as helpful as medication for people with certain conditions – and safer.

Oregano helps alleviate osteoarthritis and other inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis. This favorite spice for Italian and Greek cooking contains compounds that have many of the same effects as the drug Celebrex. Oregano contains dozens of anti-inflammatory compounds that act as muscle relaxants and pain relievers. Oregano actually protects the heart by helping to prevent blood clots and irregular heart rhythms, unlike Celebrex, which may actually increase heart attack risk in some people. Use oregano liberally on salads, pizza or sauces. It also can be used in mint or spearmint tea.

Calendula, or marigold, contains powerful plant-based carotenoids – particularly lutein and zeaxanthin - that help protect the eyes. In addition to being powerful antioxidants, these compounds absorb damaging blue-light wavelengths from the sun. These compounds have been associated with reduced risk of cataracts. Calendula makes an excellent addition to homemade vegetarian soup.

Onion contains blood-thinning compounds that have a blood pressure-lowering effect. Onion also acts as a natural diuretic, which lowers blood pressure by helping the body excrete excess fluids and salt. The most effective part of the onion is the thin outer skin and fresh onion is more potent than onion powder and cooked onions.

We’ll continue with more information about spices and health next week. In the meantime, feel free to visit us at

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