Who says eating healthy has to be boring? If you’re sick of steamed veggies and baked chicken, then you’re in the right place. The secret to tantalizing, dripping with flavor, can’t-wait-for-more dishes is not some cooking superpower, but spice! That’s right, with powerful benefits like anti-inflammation, fighting fatigue and naturally freshening your breath, your spice rack is not only a flavor-boosting tool, but a health one too.
Is your spice rack kind of sad and empty? Are you working with salt and black pepper and maybe red pepper flakes that you only really use on pizza night? Well we have something that is going to spice up your life. Here are 5 spices, some you may or may not know, to add flare to your next meal.
A classic, but one that never goes out of style. Just the smell of cinnamon can transport you back to carefree Saturday morning cartoons with french toast dripping in maple syrup with only play dates on the horizon. Call back to memory those good times by incorporating cinnamon into your dishes. Not only is it a healthy and aromatic sweetener for your dishes, but it’s also a quality source of antioxidants and a natural anti-inflammatory.
Flavor-rich curries and stir-fries depend heavily on this distant cousin of turmeric and cardamom. With gut-health properties, ginger has been used to settle upset stomachs and treat nausea for generations, think Ginger Ale. Now it much easier to access high-quality, raw ginger to add to juice or smoothies, or grate into soups and stews. With a lengthy list of health benefits, ginger definitely deserves the label of “superfood;” it’s been linked to reducing muscle pain and soreness, particularly helping with Osteoarthritis, lowering cholesterol and protecting against Alzheimer’s disease.
This powerful adaptogen grown high up in the Peruvian Andes has grown in popularity in the last few years (see also: adaptogen crazy), and is a cruciferous vegetable related to broccoli and cauliflower. Don’t let it’s odorous relations scare you, the root is actually the only edible part of the plant and is generally consumed in powder form. Some evidence has found that maca can help with brain function and memory, as well as physical performance and muscle recovery. It bears a malty flavor that does well in smoothies or to add dimension to your overnight oats.
A lesser known or used spice in Western kitchens, cardamom is a mainstay in Middle Eastern and Indian cooking. It is pungent, pairs well with others like cinnamon and cloves and adds a depth of flavor to baked goods and curries. It is slightly less sweet than cinnamon, but still bears the spiciness associated with spiced chai or pumpkin pies. Though generally considered a festive fall-flavor, feel free to add it to your dishes all year long. Cardamom can be used to treat heartburn and digestion issues, fight off cold and flu symptoms and naturally freshen breath while protecting dental health.
Every spice rack is a little more complete with cumin. It is both bitter and sweet and found in cuisines around the world specifically Asian, North African, Indian and Middle Eastern. A pinch goes a long way and adds an aromatic touch to many spice blends found in your local market. Studies have shown that cumin aids in digestion, rich in Vitamins A, C, and E and helps with respiratory issues. Add it to chili, soup, tacos or even eggs in the morning!
Hope this inspires you to spice up your weekly menu and be more adventurous in the kitchen. If you have any recipes you wish to share, add them to the comments below!