The World’s 8 Healthiest Spices:
Black Pepper: Either purchase a pepper mill and fill it with black peppercorns, white peppercorns or red peppercorns, or a mixture. The already-ground pepper that comes in tins tastes like dirty sawdust compared to freshly ground pepper. Freshly ground pepper adds zest to any dish, especially lean steaks and roasts. Pepper is one of the world’s healthiest spices because it is known for its positive effect on the digestive tract. It also has antibacterial and antioxidant benefits. Pepper also provides Vitamin A, Calcium, Copper, Vitamin K, Iron, Manganese, Magnesium and Potassium.
Cayenne Pepper: Cayenne pepper is derived from hot chili peppers. Cayenne pepper is great at fighting inflammation. Cayenne pepper is rich in Vitamin A, and also provides Iron, Manganese, Niacin, Niacin, Magnesium and Potassium, Riboflavin, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K and Vitamin B6, making it one of the world’s healthiest spices.
Cinnamon: If you cringe when you think of cinnamon, because the ground cinnamon you've tasted is bitter, try using Chinese Cinnamon. Chinese Cinnamon is sweeter, and has no bitter flavor. For a healthy snack, or fruit dip, combine equal parts non-fat vanilla or plain yogurt with unsweetened applesauce. Add cinnamon, and you have a healthy and nutritious snack. Ground Cinnamon is not only very low in cholesterol, and in sodium, it is low in saturated fat. Cinnamon also boosts your vitamin intake with its Vitamin C , Iron, Manganese, and Vitamin K. In addition to exuding and incredible aroma when cooked, cinnamon has health-promoting properties, making it one of the world’s healthiest spices. Cinnamon promotes anti-clotting, can control blood sugar and improves digestive health.
Cloves: Cloves are one of those spices that an unseasoned cook may not use much. For ham eaters, the little unopened flower bud twigs are a familiar site. Cloves can also be used in Swedish meatballs, with dishes using beans, and in delicious desserts like Molasses Cookies, Pumpkin Pie, Gingerbread and Ginger Snaps. One of the world’s healthiest spices, clove, adds Beta Cryptoxanthin, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium Vitamin A and Vitamin C to your food. Healthwise, cloves can be used to treat digestive tract cancers. Cloves are also offer anesthetic and anti-bacterial qualities and is used in oral care products, as well as in substances used by dentists.
Ginger: Because ginger is a root, it is considered a spice and not an herb. Ginger can be added to chicken, beef or vegetable dishes, as well as desserts like Gingerbread. Ginger, like most spices, is in cholesterol, low in saturated fat, and low in sodium. Ginger is one of the world’s healthiest spices and provides Copper, Manganese, Magnesium, Potassium, and Vitamin C, Ginger, even when used in Ginger Ale, is known for its positive effects on an upset stomach, or medically, on gastrointestinal distress. Ginger is a great way to quell motion sickness. It also has some anti-inflammatory benefits.
Mustard Seeds: Refers to actual mustard seeds, or ground mustard, not that bright yellow concoction in the familiar pull-top bottle. Mustard adds depth to any chicken dish, or cold potato salad. Mustard can also be used with a vinaigrette to make a delicious cold or warm dressing. Mustard seeds are one of the world’s healthiest spices because they are a good sources of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus and protein, as well as Lutein and Zeaxanthin. They also boast omega 3 fatty acids. Mustard seeds are also a great source of selenium. Selenium is considered to have cancer-prevention qualities, anti-inflammatory qualities, and can even lessen the severity of asthma.
Turmeric: A popular ingredient in curry powder, turmeric is part of the Ginger family, another one of the world’s healthiest spices. Turmeric is tasty when cooked with lentils and other vegetarian dishes. Turmeric is low in cholesterol and low in sodium. The yellow turmeric also provides dietary fiber, Iron, Manganese, Magnesium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and Potassium. Turmeric is considered one of the world’s healthiest spices because of its anti-inflammatory qualities, it aids in digestion and it can help heal wounds.
Parsley: University of Missouri scientists found that this herb can actually inhibit breast cancer-cell growth, reported Holly Pevzner in the September/October 2011 issue of EatingWell Magazine. In the study, animals that were given apigenin, a compound abundant in parsley (and in celery), boosted their resistance in developing cancerous tumors. Experts recommend adding a couple pinches of minced fresh parsley to your dishes daily.
It’s probably not a good idea to stop taking your multi-vitamin because you are using spices. By cooking with the 8 world’s healthiest spices, you can feel good knowing that by adding distinct flavors to your foods you are also improving your health.