The smell of a warm pumpkin pie, the waft of a cinnamon latte, the lingering scent of a vanilla spice candle.
All the delicious aromas of fall remind us that seasonal spices add more than just nostalgic flavor to our favorite late-in-the-year dishes. Many of them also offer centuries-old benefits that support mind and body wellness.
With autumn bringing its usual bounty of fresh produce such as kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, apples, and squash, we often find ourselves craving heartier dishes to comfort us from the inside out. Adding the following five commonly used fall spices to your meals provides a plethora of beneficial properties that support a strong and healthy body. Plus they will make your kitchen smell delicious!
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One of the most popular autumn spices is also one of the most beneficial spices to consume during the fall and winter months. Cinnamon's use as an herbal remedy dates as far back as ancient Egypt, and it is a common spice used in many recipes today. Cinnamon is high in powerful antioxidants, such as polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the risk of illness and disease. Cinnamon has also been shown to support healthy blood sugar levels and may also help lower insulin resistance.
Despite its name, nutmeg is not actually a nut, but rather the seed of several species of evergreen tree native to Indonesia. Nutmeg is packed with vitamins and minerals, which leads to many health benefits such as its ability to help relieve pain, soothe indigestion, strengthen cognitive function, detoxify the body, reduce insomnia, promote optimal immune system function, and improve blood circulation.
Cloves are commonly used in spice blends for rubs and marinades, including the popular blends Chinese five-spice powder and garam masala, as well as in Vietnamese phở, because they give an earthy, savory note to dishes. Cloves have been used traditionally in medicine because of their many antioxidants, including the compound eugenol, which has been shown to help reduce oxidative stress and protect healthy cells from damage. Cloves are also a rich source of manganese, which is essential for optimal brain function.
A spice but slightly sweet, cardamom is often found in chai, desserts, and some savory recipes. Cardamom is not only a flavor enhancer, but it has special compounds that may help fight cancer cells. Cardamom may also protect against digestive issues and stomach ulcers, as well as destroy common mouth bacteria and help prevent cavities.
Allspice refers to the dried berries of the plant Pimenta dioica, a small evergreen tree, and is named allspice because its flavor and aroma are reminiscent of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, juniper, and ginger combined. Allspice has a long list of medicinal benefits, including its carminative properties (meaning it can help relieve gas, bloating, and stomach upset). Some people apply allspice directly to affected areas for muscle pain and toothache, or put it on their skin to kill germs.
Ready to spice up some of your favorite fall recipes? Try making these mouthwatering Pumpkin Spice Protein Cookie Bites, prepare your own Cinnamon Almond Butter, or level up the nutmeg in this savory Roasted Acorn Squash Puree. You’ll be getting so many benefits and delicious flavor at the same time!
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The views in this blog by JJ Virgin should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please work with a healthcare practitioner concerning any medical problem or concern. The information here is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or condition. Statements contained here have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.