Turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne and chocolate could individually have their own spotlights due to the many healing compounds found within each one. Here are our top three favorite healthy aspects of each of these superfood ingredients:
Curcumin, the compound in turmeric that gives it its beautiful bright hue, is also responsible for the spice's medicinal properties.
- Help prevent Alzeimer's disease-turmeric contains natural agents that block the formation of beta-amyloid, the substance responsible for the plaque that slowly obstructs cerebral function in Alzheimer's disease.
- Alleviate arthritis-Turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, including six different compounds that inhibit the enzymes that promote pain, swelling and inflammation. Studies are showing that turmeric supplements may even replace pain medication through its pain-relieving results.
- Help prevent cancer-There are more than 200 studies showing the anti-cancer effects of either the turmeric or curcumin extract as being just as effective as pharmaceuticals to help interfere with several important molecular pathways involved in cancer development, growth and spread.
The distinct smell and flavor of cinnamon is due to the oily part, containing a compound called cinnamaldehyde, which is also the substance responsible for its healing properties.
- Regulate blood sugar-Cinnamon has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity. Insulin regulates blood sugar when working efficiently, and cinnamon helps insulin do its job.
- Lowers blood sugar-Cinnamon has also been shown to lower blood sugar after a meal by interfering with the sugar absorption from the digestive tract to the bloodstream, as well as mimicking insulin at the cellular level, creating greater glucose uptake by your cells.
- Help reduce fungal and bacterial infections-Cinnamaldehyde, the main active component of cinnamon, may help fight various kinds of infection. Cinnamon oil has been shown to fight respiratory infections, bacterial infections, tooth decay and bad breath. (Ditch the Listerine and chew on a cinnamon stick!)
The ultimate metabolic booster, you only need a pinch to get its full effect. Cayenne peppers have a high concentration of capsaicin - the substance that causes their fiery hot sensation.
- Anti-inflammatory-Capsaicin inhibits substance P, a neuropeptide associated with inflammation and pain, which is why you may find this ingredient in a lot of topical analgesics used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, psoriasis, and shingles.
- Increase Thermogenesis-Cayenne pepper can promote cardiovascular health by stimulating the circulatory system. It may also help to suppress the appetite and increase the burning of body fat.
- Boost Immunity-Cayenne is an excellent source of powerful antioxidants. It's abundant in beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin B-6 and vitamin E, which are all powerful antioxidants that can help prevent free radical damage and support immune function.
Okay, you know we can go on and on about our greatest love of all. But we will limit it to three. :)
- Boost brain power: Dark chocolate contains the same type of antioxidants found in red wine and green tea, which have both been shown to boost brain activity. Researchers have found that those who consumed flavanol-rich chocolate, wine or tea scored significantly higher on cognitive tests than those who didn’t.
- Get healthy, glowing skin- Flavanoids, natural antioxidants found in cacao, help protect plants from environmental toxins and repair damage. When we consume flavanoid-rich chocolate, those same benefits help our body fight toxins, free radicals and oxidative DNA damage. Chocolate facial anyone?
- Increase Nitric Oxide-Nitric oxide is a gas molecule that dilates the arteries, resulting in reduced blood pressure and increased blood flow. It’s not found in food, however certain foods can stimulate nitric oxide production within the body. Cayenne pepper, dark chocolate and beets may all stimulate nitric oxide production. For a pre-workout energy boost, try eating some nitric oxide producing foods.
You can get all of these stimulating, healing and energizing ingredients in one tasty and delicious cinnamon turmeric spice truffle! But since they contain only 45 calories a piece and are power packed with healthy nutrients, we suggest three :).