3 Spice To Help You Stay Warm This Winter

Co-written by nutrition student, Molly Pelletier, RYT

Adding warm spices helps to bring new flavor to your favorite dishes. Many spices also contain antioxidants, vitamins and minerals which can help boost your immune system, especially during cold season! Here are few of my favorite go-to’s to spice up your winter meals!

Turmeric

This spice originates from the Indian turmeric root, and is renowned as one of the world’s most powerful natural anti-inflammatories. Curcumin, the antioxidant in turmeric, has been proven in numerous studies to help fight oxidative damage and boost the body’s own antioxidant enzymes. Reducing oxidative damage is important for good health, because oxidative damage is one of key factors behind aging and some diseases.[1] Since inflammation plays a role in almost every chronic disease, turmeric is a valuable player.

Turmeric goes well with curry and vegetable flavors. Turmeric is also delicious in overnight oats with cinnamon and nutmeg. Tip: be sure to add turmeric towards the end of your cooking process as it can burn easily and lose its health properties.

Overnight Oats with Turmeric, Cinnamon, and Ginger Picture

Overnight Oats with Turmeric, Cinnamon, and Ginger

Cayenne

Cayenne is a type of chili pepper which contains the active ingredient: capsaicin. Capsaicin is responsible for the spice component of many peppers, but it also has some impressive health benefits. By raising your internal body temperature, cayenne may help you burn more thermogenic calories and increase your metabolism. Cayenne pepper may also improve digestion by increasing digestive enzyme delivered to the stomach.[2]

Wake up your metabolism by adding a kick of cayenne to your morning eggs or spice up some chickpeas or beans for a taco filling. Cayenne is one of the easiest spices to add to your diet for some extra heat and flavor.

Sage

Like turmeric, sage can help protect cells from damage caused by free radicals thanks to its antioxidant capacity. Sage has a long history of uses for memory loss and GI discomfort. Current research indicates that sage may be effective in improving brain function and memory![3]

Sage shouldn’t be limited to Thanksgiving stuffing. For those looking to avoid added sodium, sage can add delicious flavor to roasted veggies or meats. I personally love blending roasted sweet potato and sage into a savory soup.

 

As with all spices, fresh is best! Try to buy in smaller batches to ensure your spices don’t go bad before you can use them. If you have the time, buy whole spices and grind yourself for a more authentic flavor! Raw turmeric root is available at Whole Foods and adds a delicious kick to juiced or fruit smoothies. Try adding a new flavor to your lunch or dinner this week, your palate {and your health} will thank you.

Stay warm,

Skylar


[1] Jurenka JS. Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of curcuma longa: a review of preclinical research. . US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. J Complement Integrative Medicine. 14 June 2009.

[2] Maji AK, Banerji P. Phytochemistry and gastrointestinal benefits of the medicinal spice, Capsium. US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. J Complement Integrative Medicine. 1 June 2016.

[3] S. Akhondzadeh et. al. Salvia Officinalis extract in the treatment of patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease: a double blind, randomized and placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics. 28 February 2003.

Co-written by Molly Pelletier, Food Blogger & Nutrition Student at Boston University.