6 SEXY SPICES TO JUMP START A HEALTHY HOLIDAY
Hi Everyone! It’s another Health & #WELLNESS WEDNESDAY. And, because we’re in “Holiday Mode” this week we’re going to combine #Menu Monday, #Wellness Wednesday and #Factual Friday — as we share the health benefits of Six Sexy & Sensational Spices — just in time for holiday cooking and baking!
So, let’s begin with Three Savory Spices that will add not only flavor to your holiday dishes, but a healthy kick as well.
1) CHILI PEPPER: First up to the plate (pun intended) is the always impressive chili pepper. Chiles contain an amazingly high level of vitamins and minerals. Just 100 grams of chile pepper will provide: 240% of our recommended daily allowance of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), 39% of our vitamin B-6, 32% of our vitamin A, 14% of our copper, 13% of our iron and 7% of our potassium.
Now, vitamin C is the single most popular and well-known vitamin in our diet. It’s a potent water-soluble anti-oxidant used to treat colds, boost immunity and protect against free radicals. It also helps synthesize collagen inside the human body, a protein which maintains the integrity of our skin, bones, internal organs and blood vessels.
Chili pepper actually contains the entire B-Complex group of vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamine, niacin and flavonoids like beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and cryptoxanthin — all of which help protect our bodies during stress. The copper is an anti-oxidant that also helps protect against free radicals and boosts the immune system. And, iron and potassium help control our heart rate and blood pressure.
Finally, the wonderful, spicy, hot flavor of chili pepper comes from an alkaloid compound called capsaicin, which can lower our LDL (bad) cholesterol, and has analgesic, anti-bacterial, anti-diabetic and anti-carcinogenic properties as well. So, experiment with the different forms of chili pepper — fresh, crushed and ground. Add a bit of spice and heat to your favorite holiday dishes, including soups, stews, casseroles, meats and veggies — and reap health benefits in the process!
2) TURMERIC: Known as the “Queen of Spices” turmeric has a sharp taste, peppery aroma and golden color. It has long been used in mustards and curries, but it also has a long history of being used in Ayurvedic and Chinese traditional medicines.
Turmeric is loaded with protein, fiber, niacin, beta-carotene, calcium, copper, iron, zinc, potassium and vitamins C, E and K. And, it possesses a vast array of anti-oxidant, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Turmeric can actually slow the growth of existing prostate cancer and destroy cancer cells. Research also has found that the active components of turmeric protect against radiation-induced tumors — and help prevent the growth of tumor cells in T-cell leukemia as well as colon and breast carcinomas.
With its anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties turmeric is a natural band-aid that can heal minor wounds and blemishes, repair damaged skin and treat psoriasis. Adding turmeric to our food also can reduce our bad cholesterol and prevent cardiovascular disease. It’s great for treating rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, balancing insulin levels and elevating our mood. It’s spicy and pungent and the perfect culinary addition to your holiday adventures in the kitchen!
3) SAFFRON: This spice belongs to the Iris family of flowers — the crocus to be exact. You see, saffron actually is the stamen of the crocus flower. It’s harvested by hand where 4,500 flowers are needed to make up one ounce of saffron spice — and, of course, this is why saffron is so expensive.
But, we don’t need a lot of saffron in order to benefit from its significant health properties. Most recipes call for half a teaspoon or less. But, each ounce of saffron contains about 400% of our daily recommended value of manganese, 38% of our vitamin C, 18% of our magnesium, 17% of our iron and 14% of our vitamin B6 and potassium levels.
This beautiful golden-orange spice helps metabolize carbohydrates, regulate blood sugar and helps our bodies absorb calcium to form tissues, sex hormones and bones. The vitamin C, of course, is a terrific infection fighter, iron purifies our blood, vitamin B6 helps form red blood cells and the potassium helps balance fluids in body cells preventing painful muscle cramps.
Moreover, saffron contains crocin, a compound of powerful carotenoids and anti-oxidants that protect us from free radical damage. So, add a bit of saffron color to your holiday feast this season and enjoy its healthy benefits.
Now, let’s move on to Three Sweet Spices that will make a welcome addition to any holiday dish.
4) CINNAMON: Cinnamon is truly a super spice loaded with manganese, fiber, calcium, riboflavin, iron, vitamin C and all the complex B vitamins, including B1, 2, 3, 6 and 12. It contains beta-carotene and a full array of carotenoids, which are used by our body to produce vitamin A. And, it provides our bodies with folate, which aids in the production of folic acid.
Cinnamon has anti-oxidant properties that can reduce the growth of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells. It’s an anti-inflammatory and analgesic that be used to treat arthritis, help prevent ulcers and soothe an irritable stomach. It also has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial qualities that suppress the fungus known to cause yeast infections in women and the bacteria associated with urinary tract infections.
Just half a teaspoon per day can lower our LDL cholesterol, regulate our blood sugar and increase insulin levels. It has an anti-clotting effect on the blood, fights E. coli bacteria in unpasteurized juices and the smell of cinnamon can boost memory and cognitive function.
Oh — and by the way — did I mention it has aphrodisiac properties as well?? So, go ahead and add cinnamon to all your beverages and desserts this holiday — and enjoy!
5) NUTMEG: Here we have another aromatic super spice so popular at this time of year. Nutmeg also contains many compounds that prevent disease and promote health. It’s sweet flavor comes from essential volatile oils, including myristicin, elemicin, safrole and eugenol. And, these oils have many therapeutic applications in traditional medicine as anti-depressant, anti-fungal, digestive and carminative aids.
Now, myristicin in particular is recognized as a shield that protects our brain from degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The other essential oils are used to treat muscular and joint pain, toothaches depression and indigestion. Minerals like calcium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, and potassium help our bodies build strong bones, tissues and teeth, maintain red blood cell production and help control our heart rate and blood pressure.
Nutmeg’s wealth of folic acid, riboflavin, niacin and vitamins A, B and C all work together for our optimum health. Its anti-oxidant flavonoids like beta-carotene strengthen our immune system and protect against common colds and infections. And, nutmeg is known as a natural sleep aid. So again, grate a little nutmeg into your soups and stews — and sprinkle it on your side dishes, desserts and beverages for a boost of color, flavor and health.
6) GINGER: Last, but not least, we have ginger. Not to be outdone, this spice also has its share of minerals and vitamins, including calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium and selenium. It also contains vitamins B, C, and E as well as protein, fiber and essential oils.
Together these compounds give ginger potent anti-oxidant properties. It’s helpful in the prevention and treatment of certain cancers. It slows down the growth of cancerous cells in the colon and appears to induce cell death in patients with ovarian cancer.
Ginger can give immediate relief from the symptoms of cold and flu when mixed with honey — and reduce mucus from the respiratory tract and sooth an irritated throat. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory and pain-killer, which can relieve pain and swelling, treat rheumatoid arthritis and relieve headaches.
Ginger has a profound positive effect on the digestive tract and aids in the digestion of fatty foods and proteins. It can relieve gas and bloating — and when taken in tea can effectively treat heartburn. Ginger does wonders for an upset stomach, motion sickness, nausea, dizziness, vomiting and morning sickness during pregnancy. So, again — add a bit of ginger to your holiday baking and enjoy all its benefits.
Wow — and that my friends is a mouthful! Six little spices with huge health benefits! Keep them all handy in your kitchen this holiday season — use them generously — and know that your culinary efforts will pay off in tasty AND healthy holiday treats!
Have fun everyone! Thanks for joining me and until next time,
TAKE THE COURSE AND TAKE CHARGE!
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