May 8th, 2012

7 Spices for Healthy Cooking

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Groovy Green Livin spices

7 Spices for Healthy Cooking

My husband and I both like to cook and when time permits we try to whip up new and exciting dishes filled with all sorts of spices. Over the years we have gradually increased the amount of seasoning we use as the taste buds of our three boys continue to mature.  Both of us are fans of spicy food and our kids are joining the ranks. Not only do the spices taste good, but it turns out they are good for us too. Here are seven spices that end up in many of our dishes.

Turmeric

Groovy Green Livin Turmeric

This gorgeous yellow/orange spice is at the top of my healthy spice list for good reason.  Turmeric is generally found in Indian curries and other ethnic foods. It has been used as both a medicine and a spice for many centuries.

Tumeric contains a nutrient called curcumin and it’s known for its anti-inflammatory properties. The spice is thought to fight a long list of diseases including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. Other studies have shown promise for treating Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Cinnamon

Groovy Green Livin cinnamon stick

Cinnamon ends up in our pancakes, French toast and eggs.  Not only does it taste delicious, but studies have shown it has several health benefits:  Reduces LDL cholesterol levels, reduces pain associated with arthritis, regulates blood sugar, and helps with cancer, menstrual pain and infertility.

Garlic

Groovy Green Livin garlic

Another one of my favorites-I add garlic to almost everything from pizza to roasted vegetables and broccoli. Garlic adds flavor to so many dishes and it also is known for being anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiviral. It is known to be a natural antibiotic and can help manage high cholesterol and blood pressure.

Oregano

Groovy green livin oregano

Oregano on pasta, pizza and salads tastes divine.  In addition to the yummy flavors oregano holds some healthy benefits with those who indulge. Oregano also has antioxidants in its oil and leaves. It also has anti-inflammatory benefits. Some people rub the oil on inflamed joints and muscles. Others take oregano oil when the first symptoms of a cold or sore throat appear.

Cumin

Groovy Green Livin cumin

I make chili all the time and it wouldn’t be the same without the addition of cumin (and lots of it!). It also great mixed into a stir fry or on top of roasted veggies. Cumin is also used throughout the world as a medicinal herb. Cumin is known to help treat high blood sugar levels, insomnia, a cold, respiratory issues and cancer.

Ginger

Groovy Green Livin Ginger

Do you like ginger with your sushi? You’ll be getting more bang for your buck. This spice is known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. It’s also known to improve blood circulation and helps those tired, achy muscles after a good workout.  Ginger tea is great for relieving menstrual cramps.

Thyme

Groovy Green Livin Thyme

Thyme is delicious in soups, stews, baked or on sauteed vegetables. Thyme contains an essential oil that is rich in thymol, a powerful antiseptic, antibacterial, and a strong antioxidant.  Recent studies show thyme can kill MRSA infections, which are resistant to other antibiotics.

What are your favorite spices to cook with? Do you and/or your kids like spicy foods?

Buy organic spices and herbs whenever you can.

Please check with a medical professional before self-administering any of these herbs.

Linked up with Green Backs Gal.

Photo © Igor Dutina #2068762, Others used under Creative Commons S.Diddy, LowJumpingFrog, Joi, Gusjer, cookbookman17, Steven Jackson /Flickr

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18 Responses to “7 Spices for Healthy Cooking”

  1. I put ginger in my juice, and cinnamon in my smoothies! Love all those spices! Little E is living spicy food! YAY! :)

  2. I use ginger and garlic in tons of stuff. I also love Turmeric ice cream. :)

  3. Where do you prefer to purchase your spices? I am fortunate enough to live near a Penzeys. I look forward to following your blog!

  4. Hi Krista, I also live near a Penzeys-which I love! I buy some spices there and also buy organic spices at Whole Foods. I would also suggest finding a local co-op or farmers market.

  5. Hi Tiffany, Turmeric is one of my favorite spices, but I’ve never had turmeric tea! I’ll have to try it.

  6. Hi Stephanie, I can’t believe your little E already likes spicy food. That’s impressive!

  7. Mmm, I love and use most of these, especially garlic (the start of every great meal) and cumin.

    Question: are the health benefits associated with cinnamon linked to true cinnamon (Ceylon cinnamon from Sri Lanka) or what I like to call “fake” cinnamon (cassia from China or Indonesia)? As far as I know, labelling laws don’t require a distinction between the two, and I suspect that cassia passes as true cinnamon all the time, without offering the same benefits.

  8. I love cooking with spices! Garlic is involved in most of our meals.
    I sheltered my first child from spices, unfortunatly, and he is the most hesitant to try spices. My 18 month old will eat anything!
    I wanted to let you know that I really enjoy your posts and just awarded you with the versatile blogger award. You probably have received this before but I wanted to let you know. Thank you for the inspiration!!
    You can see the post with the award here: http://www.earthmamasworld.com/gluten-free-almond-flour-oatmeal-bars/

  9. I use most of those things too, but not for specific health reasons, but rather because they help me get salt out of my cooking.
    My kids also like spicy food, which utterly makes life easier.

  10. Garlic is one of my favorites too Andrea. I eat too much of it-my kids keep telling me that I have garlic breath. I don’t know the answer to your cinnamon question. I’ll add it to my new weekly column, Green Questions, Groovy Answers. Interesting question!

  11. Hi Angela! Thank you SO much for the versatile blogger award. You just made my day!

  12. Hi Sarah, I have two of three that love spicy food. The other child is a mild guy, but we’re hopeful his taste buds will mature someday!

  13. We are fans of all of these spices! I’m so glad they are healthy :-) Pinning and tweeting!

  14. [...] of baking soda and water works well for itchy bug bites and the same is true for poison ivy. A  Turmeric paste is also helpful. Turmeric contains a nutrient called curcumin and it’s known for its [...]

  15. [...] add it to almost everything from pizza to roasted vegetables and broccoli. Not only does garlic add exceptional flavor to food, it also has several other super powers. Here are a few of the many uses for [...]

  16. Thanks for sharing this wonderful post on spices. I am a big user of turmeric and garlic, but I need to expand my spice use to incorporate a greater variety.

    As a vegan, I enjoy buying fresh, local food and making meals from scratch. I am a big fan of lentils and other legumes.

    My favorite lentil soup recipe is my own Curried Lentil Shitake Mushroom Soup which is a hearty soup containing lots of onion, carrots, celery, garlic, parsley and either shitake or portabello mushrooms. Sometimes I add whole barley for a lentil barley variation.

    I rely on the strong flavor of fresh, organic vegetables to create a tasty stock. Plus, tumeric powder or curry takes the flavor to a another level.

    Always satisfying and filling, I try to make enough soup to have for a couple of days or to share with family and friends.

  17. […] of baking soda and water works well for itchy bug bites and the same is true for poison ivy. A  Turmeric paste is also helpful. Turmeric contains a nutrient called curcumin and it’s known for its […]

  18. […] add it to almost everything from pizza to roasted vegetables and broccoli. Not only does garlic add exceptional flavor to food, it also has several other super powers. Here are a few of the many uses for […]

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About Lori

I’m Lori Popkewitz Alper, a recovering attorney, mom of three and the Founder of Groovy Green Livin. I hope you'll join me as I embark on a journey to live a healthy life. Along the way I might make a few pit stops to fight for issues that affect the health and safety of our families. Come along with me as I work hard to make the world a little safer for each of us. Together we'll discover that simple, small changes can lead to a healthier lifestyle and a greener planet.

Click HERE to contact Lori

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