Spices have been utilized in a myriad of ways for thousands of years. Cinnamon, turmeric, and cayenne pepper are a few of the most powerful spices around. The following highlights some of their health benefits:
Antioxidant and antimicrobial properties: Cinnamon prevents oxidation (browning) of foods due to its antioxidant capability. In addition, studies have demonstrated that cinnamon inhibits bacterial and fungal growth. Interestingly, due to its antimicrobial effect, cinnamon was utilized in the embalming process in ancient Egypt.
Anticoagulant properties: One of the functions of platelets is to clump together during injury to stop bleeding. However, excessive clotting can trigger strokes and heart attacks. Cinnamaldehyde, an active ingredient in cinnamon, prevents blood platelets from aggregating. Thus, cinnamon exhibits anti-clotting properties.
Aids in diabetes and cardiovascular diseases: Research has shown that ¼ to ½ teaspoon of cinnamon daily can potentially decrease blood levels of sugar, bad cholesterol (LDL), triglycerides, and total cholesterol. Other studies have demonstrated that when cinnamon was added to a high carbohydrate meal it prevented blood sugar from spiking.
Great source of fiber: Two teaspoons of cinnamon contain 11% of your daily value of fiber. Fiber is important for gastrointestinal health.
Other benefits: Preliminary research has shown that cinnamon may improve brain function. Therefore, consume some cinnamon before an important meeting or presentation. In addition, during the cold and flu season, try some cinnamon to help warm your body as well as for potential alleviation of cold symptoms.
Anti-inflammatory properties: Turmeric’s pigment, curcumin, has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties similar to anti-inflammatory drugs such as Motrin. This may help patients with inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Antioxidant properties: Many studies have demonstrated that curcumin can both prevent and slow down the progression of cancer due to its antioxidant ability amongst other factors. In conjunction with its antioxidant property, curcumin may aid the liver in detoxification.
May prevent Alzheimer’s disease: Research has illustrated that turmeric may prevent Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, this degenerative disease is not common in India where turmeric is widely used.
Great source of iron: Two teaspoons of turmeric contain 10% of the daily value of iron. Iron is key in preventing iron-deficiency anemia.
Pain relief properties: Capsaicin is a potent active ingredient in cayenne and is currently used as a topical pain relief medication. Studies have concluded that capsaicin aids in the pain relief of headaches and arthritis. In addition, during the cold and flu season, it may decrease congestion by draining the nasal passages.
Great source of vitamin A: One teaspoon of cayenne contains 15% of the daily value of vitamin A. Vitamin A is important for maintaining healthy skin and night vision.
Each delicious bite of Nicobella’s holiday spice truffle combines these three amazing spices with 70% dark chocolate. Try this tasty treat today while reaping several health benefits as well!
Written by Jennifer Glockner, RD