Cinnamon and Spice and Everything Nice
Spices add flavor and color to dishes, but did you know that they also provide vitamins, minerals, powerful phytochemicals and anti-inflammatory compounds? Adding spices to your food supports health and is a great way to boost the nutrient density of your meals. There are many creative ways to increase your spice consumption. And once you know all of their benefits, you will be reaching into your spice cabinet more often.
Let’s discuss inflammation. When we talk about inflammation, we are referring to the body’s response to injury or infection. Acute inflammation often leads to redness, swelling, pain or heat. These symptoms reflect the body trying to heal itself. When joints are inflamed, like in arthritis, they can be stiff and swell. Chronic inflammation continues for long periods of time due to infection, autoimmune reactions or allergies. Emerging research links many diseases, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and depression, to chronic inflammation. Flavoring your food with anti-inflammatory spices is a simple way to help ward off these diseases.
Check out the top four anti-inflammatory spices listed below to learn about the additional nutrients they provide and how to include them in your diet.
1. Cinnamon contains magnesium, iron and anti-inflammatory compounds. Try adding it to your oatmeal, yogurt or morning coffee.
2. Turmeric contains magnesium, potassium, copper and anti-inflammatory compounds. This spice is trending right now and turmeric lattes and turmeric milk are popping up on coffee shop menus. An important note about turmeric is that black pepper increases the bioavailability of its anti-inflammatory compounds. When adding turmeric to chili, stir-fries and eggs, make sure to add black pepper as well.
3. Chili powder contains vitamins A and C, potassium, iron and anti-inflammatory compounds. It can also help lower cholesterol and boost immunity. Chili powder usually contains cayenne pepper, which also has anti-inflammatory properties. Use chili powder to spice up your morning eggs, chili dish or soup.
4. Ginger can be used fresh or ground. It contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Enjoy it in salad dressing, vegetable stir-fries or ginger tea.
Written by: Abby Cannon, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern
2. Health Line