There’s a lot of things you can do to spice up your life, but what if I told you that spicing up your life, literally, can make a huge difference in your everyday health?
There are spices that add brain boosting to memory, some that fight anxiety, depression and Alzheimer’s. Herbs and Spices can be cancer fighting, assist keeping organs healthy and functioning such as liver, heart and gut. There are even some spices that work as aphrodisiacs to help, well, spice things up in the bedroom. The health benefit list, pertaining to herbs and spices, is endless.
Here are some of my personal favorites I make an effort to add into my everyday diet.
Two different types of Basil, Sweet and Holy Basil, are known for both having an abundance of health benefits. However, Holy Basil offers something that Sweet Basil doesn’t. Holy Basil is a depression and anxiety fighter. You can add this to your diet by simply consuming it raw on a salad, making it into a tea with boiling water or sautéing it in a dish.
Holy Basil also fights against allergy symptoms and has immunity boosting properties.
Sweet Basil is more frequently used in the world of culinary and easier to find at your local grocery store. This Basil is more beneficial before dried out, and has health benefits of fighting different types of cancers, arthritis, and diabetes.
Here’s my thing with bay leaves, I put them in jambalaya or soup, pull them out and I have no idea what actual flavor they add. However, I use them when recipes ask for them and the added bonus is I’ve learned that they have major health benefits.
These leaves aren’t only good to fish out of soup recipes, they can be steeped in tea, extract to oils and even turned into a rub to resolve hair issues such as growth and ridding of dandruff.
Bay leaves are known for anti-cancer properties, heart health, controlling inflammation, reduce stress and anxiety, treat respiratory conditions, fight against fungal infections and improve digestion.
That is a abundant amount of benefits to give you a reason to stock Bay Leaves on your spice rack.
We often look at Black Pepper as a daily meal topper along side Sister Salt but black pepper is more than a table decoration.
Black pepper, derived from peppercorns, is high in antioxidants which is going to benefit the body in fighting and avoiding a plentiful health problems.
Black pepper has anti-inflammatory properties which also lead to benefiting the brain in fighting against Alzheimer’s and improving memory. In addition it known for lowering cholesterol, improving blood sugar, cancer-fighting properties, may promote healthy gut (aka: healthy gut = healthy brain), natural pain reliever, boost absorption of nutrients, and reduce appetite.
With all the positive health benefits, it sounds like a really good reason to reach for the pepper before the salt.
Cayenne really can spice up your dish with a bit of bite and the health benefits outweigh the flavor.
Cayenne Pepper contains an active ingredient called Capsaicin, which gives it the extra antioxidants to benefit your health. Cayenne pepper is easy to add in your diet as it’s one of those spices that not only comes in whole food and spice form but also a supplement. Some might take the supplement because they know it can boost your metabolism and reduces hunger but cayenne pepper offers so much more than trying to control body fat.
Cayenne Pepper can help lower blood pressure, aid in digestive health, improve Psoriasis, reduce risk of cancer, and relieve pain (when applied in a skin cream).
I LOVE cinnamon in almost anything and the fact that it has so many extra added health benefits, that seem to do it all, make it all the more reason to find ways to consume it daily. I personally love adding it to my morning coffee as part of my lifestyle change.
Cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants one of them being polyphenols, which can help manage blood pressure levels, feed gut, lower heart disease risk and promote brain function.
In addition cinnamon improves blood sugar levels fighting against diabetes, cholesterol levels, prevent colon cancer, prevent tooth decay, fight against Alzheimer’s, Dementia and depression.
An added benefit of cinnamon, if you need help in your sex life, it is a natural aphrodisiac that promotes blood flow to the abdominal area and improving blood flow for male and female sexual arousal. In men, it also prevents erectile dysfunction and stimulates sperm production and testosterones levels. Makes you want extra cinnamon in everything, right?
Cumin is staple spice in many food cultures such as Mexican and Indian Cuisine that offers health benefits such as fighting inflammation. This is going to protect neurons and give brain boosting results like other ant-inflammatory spices. This also makes a cumin another spice to fight against dementia and Alzheimer’s with the ability to eat away at brain plaque.
In addition cumin is another cancer fighting spice, promotes healthy digestion, improve blood cholesterol and some studies have even shown cumin to promote weight loss.
Cumin doesn’t stop with all those amazing benefits. Studies have found cumin to attribute in some other surprising benefits like it’s possibility at curving addiction(s) by suppressing addictive behavior and withdrawal symptoms in the brain. Other surprising benefits include treating insomnia, easing stress, anxiety, relives asthma, fights against colds, treats acne, and hemorrhoids.
Cumin comes in spice form or supplement, usually always paired with Turmeric.
I have grown to love and crave fennel seed in much of my cooking. Fennel seed is a brain spice that helps improve cognitive performance, fights against depression and anxiety and appears to be effective in menopausal women who are having complications.
Fennel seed is another spice that also aids in digestive health, treating respiratory illness, weight loss, control blood pressure, and fights against cancers.
In addition, fennel seed adds these rare benefits that other spices might lack such as beating bad breath (and tooth decay), regulating women’s menstrual cycle, reduce risk of heart attack, stroke, improves eyesight, reduces osteoporosis, protects the skin and natural detox for the body.
Why stop with that lengthy list?
Fennel seed in tea also has been shown to improve fertility in women. Once pregnant, it is believed that small doses can help curve nausea and morning sickness in the first trimester. It is also packed with lots of vitamins like folic acid and is believed to contribute in milk production for mothers. However, consult your doctor because there has been other concerns such as premature labor if consuming too much fennel and it could also affect your bodies ability to create blood clotting.
Garlic is another favorite of mine with not only flavor but it’s brain boosting properties. Garlic, being another anti-inflammatory, is high in antioxidants, because of this, garlic is another fighter against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Garlic’s health benefits don’t stop there, it supports prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer along with supporting liver health and immune system function. Garlic also reduces high blood pressure, and triglyceride levels and glucose levels assisting in prevention of diabetes.
Garlic can be bought in your produce department and pressed down, already minced, powder and supplement.
A recent study has shown that dried ginger significantly improved memory in mice when it was taken regularly. This study lead to more ginger research and how it might also boost cognitive function in the brain. Ginger, being an anti-inflammatory, makes this another spice to help fight against Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Ginger is the perfect spice for women who are struggling during pregnancy with nausea. For the non childbearing, it is known to lessen menstrual pain during monthly cycle.
In addition ginger is known to help with joint pain and stiffness for those who suffer of osteoarthritis, the degenerating joint cartilage under the bone. It also lowers blood sugar, improve heart disease risk, prevent cancer and lower cholesterol.
Next time you go to get sushi, I highly recommend ordering extra ginger.
I like to consider cinnamon and nutmeg sister spices, I feel like along with cloves, they could start their own spicy rock band.
Like cinnamon, nutmeg has antioxidants properties which boost memory in the brain, ward off brain aging, fight depression and anxiety because it also works as an anti-inflammatory. The difference is, cinnamon is more of a “dump it in” spice while nutmeg is “a dash of” spice because in high quantities it can cause hallucinations, nausea, irregular heartbeat and dizziness.
I’m not trying to scare you off, cinnamon has it’s own warnings for dosage, so always consult your doctor if you plan to take supplements of any spice.
In addition to boosting brain power, nutmeg offers more protection against cancer, protects the liver, can help you sleep and regulates high blood pressure. A dash a day with other added spices is beneficial.
Like cayenne, paprika is derived from peppers which contain Capsicum annum. The only difference is the type of pepper mixture in which is used to make the spice. Like, cayenne, it may reduce inflammation. The difference between cayenne and paprika is since paprika is made from fruit/pepper it’s properties aren’t as strong as cayenne.
One of the good things about peppermint is, like mint, it’s easy to grow and rather resilient. Chewing on this herb is a breath refresher but that’s not all it is good for. It actually kills the germs that are the source of the bad smell.
Peppermint is also known to ease headache pain, enhance mental performance, and cognitive function.
Peppermint also curbs appetite, which can help with weight loss, helps your digestive track and like, ginger, works on nausea.
When someone offers you pure peppermint to stay mentally alert during a test, important meeting or problem solve… it’s worth accepting.
This is another brain boosting herb, my favorites, because it is a cognitive stimulate, which means it helps boost memory. In addition, it also fights against anxiety and depression and improves your sleep quality.
While it has many health benefits, it has bonus because like lavender and some other spices, it repels certain insects. Insects that don’t enjoy rosemary? Flies, mosquitos and cabbage moths.
Saffron has become one of my favorite spices because of it’s ability to fight depression naturally. In studies it has been shown to be comparable to anti-depressant Fluoxetine and with the correct recommended dosage, with doctor approval, possible to fight depression with this supplement over prescription brands.
Saffron can also be good for your sex life, as for women it reduces PMS symptoms, and in both men and women has shown to increase libido. In a study, this herb has given both sexes increase sex drive, and sexual function.
Saffron is also another herb believed to fight cancer.
This spice is pricey due the growing and harvesting of the flower (saffron crocus), but it can be found as a reasonably priced vitamin supplement.
While this herb gets a lot of hype for warding off bad spirits in the psychic world, it has major health benefits when it’s burned, like reducing stress and anxiety.
Sage is also another anti-inflammatory herb giving it similar brain boosting properties like some of the other spices you’ve read about. These properties include boosting memory, protecting again Alzheimer’s, and helping fight depression.
Sage is also high in antioxidants, fighting against cell damage. In addition it has been known to help with stomach issues such as digestive, gas, stomach pain, and diarrhea.
Let me start off by saying I can never get enough “Thyme” jokes, and I chuckles to myself thinking about them. That being said, let me get to business on why you should have more thyme in your life. (couldn’t help it, had to make at least one joke)
Due to natural lithium in thyme, this herb is another depression and anxiety fighter. Thyme also helps build immunity in the system.
This herb also has many health benefits in oil form and I highly recommend finding a specialist to assure you have pure oil to aid in things such as treating coughs and skin care to help with acne.
Turmeric has become quite the hype over the last couple years and for good reason. Popular in pill form these days, this spice mixes well with cumin and it’s health benefits are heightened, such as depression fighting, when mixed with black pepper. (mind blowing, right?)
Like other spices known for warding depression, this brain booster doesn’t stop there. It also is an Alzheimer’s, dementia fighter and has been known to benefit those that have suffered traumatic brain injuries.
And why stop there with this miracle spice? In addition it’s been shown to improve thyroid problems, diabetes, and liver health. It’s become popular for a good reason. Due to the over productivity of turmeric and use of pesticides, I recommend reaching for organic powder or supplement form.
To me, vanilla has always been delicious and smelled divine. To reap the benefits of vanilla you will need to reach for pure vanilla, organic extract or vanilla beans.
Vanilla is known to calm anxiety and depression by it’s simple aroma but has even more benefits when taken orally because of the high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. This makes vanilla another brain booster, protecting against all the common neuro diseases. Vanilla also is a cancer fighter and protects against cell damage.
Trying to cut back on sugar and live a healthier lifestyle? (I hope you do)
Vanilla, was shown in a study to have adults cut back on sugar when it was added to their drinks. The sweetness and smell of the vanilla tricked the brain to believe it was getting high amounts of sugar even though it was really getting a healthy dose of pureness.
As always, check with a medical professional or licensed herbalist because some herbs can have negative health benefits pending on your health, pregnancy, or other medications that you might be taking.
Enjoy spicing up your life with these health benefits and living your best and healthiest version of you!