Herbs and spices taste great and can help to enhance your meals, but did you know that many healthy spices have incredibly beneficial properties that can boost your overall well being?

Adding healthy spices to your diet can be incredibly beneficial. This list will cover the amazing health benefits of five popular spices that are easy to find, no matter where you live. But first, it’s time for…

Spices 101

Spices are the most aromatic parts of vegetative plants, most often used for natural flavoring of food and drinks. Herbs and spices have been used in cooking for thousands of years. They’ve also been used in traditional and alternative medicine for almost as long. Healthy spices are known to contain a high amount of polyphenols – chemicals found in plants known to boost health and support your immune system. And spices contain a lot of other beneficial properties that may help improve your overall health as well.1

Here are five healthy spices – and some of the reasons they may help boost your wellbeing:

Five Healthy Spices

1. Turmeric

Healthy Spices | Urban Monk NutritionAlso known as the golden spice, turmeric is first on this list of healthy spices for many reasons. It has been used in traditional Indian medicine and cooking for around 4,000 years. It’s also been the subject of over 3,000 scholarly publications just within the last 25 years, with studies uncovering a multitude of potential benefits for overall health and well-being.

Turmeric’s bioavailability isn’t great. Which means your body isn’t able to easily absorb and utilize it, without the aid of other compounds. Luckily, a natural ingredient found in black pepper, called piperine, drastically helps the bioavailability of turmeric.2 And turmeric and black pepper go really well together in many dishes, including curries.

The ingredient in turmeric responsible for many its potential benefits is curcumin. Curcumin has strong antioxidant properties, and may help with soreness and stiffness in joints.3

2. Ginger

Healthy Spices | Urban Monk NutritionGinger, with its amazing antioxidant properties, is deserving of a spot on this list of healthy spices. It originates in Southeast Asia and is a delicious addition to many Asian foods, from Thai to Japanese, and more. It has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years for both minor and major ailments.4

Ginger also makes a great drink ingredient. If you do want to get your ginger fix from soda, make sure that you are choosing an all natural, organic ginger ale. Ginger also makes a great caffeine free tea (add honey and lemon for even more flavor and health benefits).

3. Chili

Healthy Spices | Urban Monk NutritionChili peppers are another common spice found in powder form. When it comes to healthy spices, this one is a big contender. It is also one of the most commonly used spices in many different kinds of cuisine. Chili can even be found in some kinds of tea.

Chili pepper consumption has been linked to reduced death rates, leading researchers to believe they’re a beneficial longevity component of diets.

These peppers are also rich in antioxidants, and they may help boost respiratory and cardiovascular health.5

4. Cinnamon

Healthy Spices | Urban Monk NutritionCinnamon is another spice powerhouse. Just make sure you watch your sugar consumption along with this one. It goes well in sweet dishes, and you can also find ways to incorporate it into healthy recipes. Try using more cinnamon on sweet potatoes, to replace all that butter. Cinnamon can even be added to coffee or tea for a festive fall treat!

Cinnamon holds many properties that are beneficial to well-being. It’s a powerful antioxidant, and it may help support the cardiovascular system. Additionally, cinnamon may help support joint health and it has antimicrobial properties.6

5. Cocoa

Healthy Spices | Urban Monk NutritionWhile many people associate cocoa with unhealthy, sugar-loaded milk chocolate, cocoa is actually a healthy spice. To reap the healthy benefits of cocoa, try focusing on recipes that contain less sugar. Enjoy using darker chocolate in your dishes – like a great mole sauce for enchiladas or stews. And a bonus: you can make a great mole sauce with chili and other healthy spices!

Cocoa has been found to help battle oxidative stress as well as many cardiovascular issues. It is even being studied for its potential anti-aging properties.7 More ongoing studies are investigating the potential benefits for immunity, psychological health, and even neurological protection.8

Spicy Dietary Supplements

It can be tough to incorporate multiple spices into your natural diet every single day. Many people are choosing to take dietary supplements that contain healthy spices. And if you’d like to do this, you’ve got a lot of options. There are plenty of safe, all-natural, organic supplements available. Of course, talk with your doctor before adding any kind of supplement to your diet. You want to be sure you’re choosing the best natural and organic options.

Spice Up Your Life (and Health)

There’s a good chance you have at least one, or even more, of these healthy spices in your kitchen right now. If you don’t, you can easily find them in dry form in grocery stores. If you’re ready to spice up your life, it’s time to expand your spice rack with these delicious options!

For more health wisdom from Eastern philosophies, keep reading here:
Reishi Mushrooms: “The Mushroom of Immortality”
How to Make Dairy-Free, Vegan Kefir
10 Self-Care Rituals For A Healthier Body And Mind