Have you tried sprinkling cinnamon in your morning shake, or adding some ginger to your tea? It’s delicious (and good for you)!

Using spices for seasoning and medicinal value is a concept that goes wayyy back in human history. Remember the spice trade from your history class? Centuries ago, spices were used, mostly by the wealthy class, to make bland food taste good and to treat illnesses. Cough suppressants, and other pharmacy drugs did not exist at the time so the cure for many illnesses were treated with spices.

Now the prices of spices have gone down over the centuries and they are no longer considered a sign of wealth but rather a staple in most kitchens. However, most of us don’t know which spices to use and which have nutritional value. Adding spices to your food is the easiest and best way to enhance flavor without adding fat or calories; plus you can heal and protect your body from toxins and illness.

Lets heat things up and talk flavor!

Turmeric: It is a quintessential spice in curry and is known for being the most anti-inflammatory herb. Adding it to your steamed veggies or even mixing it with some hummus is a great way to reap some of its great benefits. Turmeric can help with arthritis, depression, heartburn, stomach pain, jaundice, liver problems, gallbladder disorders, headaches, bronchitis, colds and even cancer!

If you don’t have time to get creative with your seasonings, you can find a lot of foods and supplements that already have turmeric in them for you.

Cumin: Although this may look like any ordinary spice in your cabinet, cumin packs a nutty peppery flavor that you find in Mexican, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine (delicious!). Cumin helps to control your diabetes and will aid in digestion. Cumin is also a great source of magnesium (nature’s mood booster); a tablespoon will give you 6% of your recommended daily value of magnesium. Magnesium serves a host of functions, including promoting heart health, controlling blood pressure and aiding the absorption of calcium.

Add some cumin to your soups, or roasted veggies and enjoy! You can also try on of our favorite supplements called Inflammatone for a simple way to get your daily dose of cumin.

Cinnamon: The flavor of fall! Cinnamon has been used as a healing herb for centuries, mostly in the Eastern world. Just like turmeric, cinnamon can help greatly with inflammation. It is also known to help lower fasting blood glucose, which greatly aids with type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes.

Add a ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon to your apple slices or add it to your morning shake. It has a delicious warming flavor that will spice up your day!

Chili Pepper: If you have a cold or are prone to getting them, then adding chili pepper to your recipes could really help. Chili pepper has capsaicin, which not only reduces pain, but its peppery heat also stimulates secretions that help clear mucus from your stuffed up nose or congested lungs. The bright color of red chili peppers also signals its high content of beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A. Just two teaspoons of red chili peppers provide about 6% of the daily value for vitamin C coupled with more than 10% of the daily value for vitamin A.

Chop up some chili peppers (or use the dried spice) and add some to your roasted veggies, hummus or mix with some salt and pepper to season your chicken. A great way to add some kick (watch out Beckham!).

Ginger: Ginger is a flowering plant that originated from China and is closely related to turmeric.  Similar to turmeric, ginger is known for fighting cancer; a daily use of ginger prevents inflammation of the colon, and thus reduces the risk of cancer. Ginger also provides great relief for nausea and vomiting.

Adding dried ginger to your meals has a fairly mild flavor but if you need a quick fix for a stomach ache you can try ginger tea, ginger chews or Ginger Tussin which is also a natural cough suppressant. For a tasty beverage with ginger juice try the “I Am Cleansing” recipe.

Tip: If using fresh ginger in a recipe, use the edge of the spoon to remove the skin. This will allow you to reach all the odd angles of the ginger.

Garlic: The ancient Chinese, Hindus, Jews, Egyptians, and other nations cultivated garlic as nutritional, spice and medical plant.  Consuming raw garlic can significantly affect levels of glucose, cholesterol and triglyceride. Allicin is the active ingredient in garlic, known to have effective medicinal effects for the treatment of bacterial & fungal infections.

When using the garlic, make sure you crush it first, with the back of your knife. Crushing the garlic releases its oils and the allicin (this can help with infections). Garlic has a strong flavor so if you want to keep your recipe mild, mince the garlic finely or try roasting the garlic to bring out its sweetness.

Now that you know a few spices to add to your recipes, learn more about the fresh herbs you can use to improve your health and add a wonderful fresh flavor to any dish by signing up for one of our amazing MyCambiati Classes! It’s the newest class by Cambiati and is a specialized program designed to help you stay successful during normal, everyday life.  Learn more here!