The smell of a pumpkin pie, the waft of a cinnamon latte, the lingering smell of vanilla scented candle. All the delicious smells of fall. As fall is full of beautiful seasonal produce like kale and squash, we turn to heartier dishes and spices to bring life to our food. And more than just flavor, many fall spices, even the most common ones, have a plethora of antioxidant and beneficial properties that make our bodies healthier and stronger. And they just smell good too.
Here are five commonly used fall spices and all the benefits you may or may not know you are getting when using them!
One of the most popular autumn spices is also one of the most beneficial spices to consume during the fall weather. Cinnamon dates as far back to Ancient Egypt and is a common spice found in many recipes. Cinnamon is high ih powerful antioxidants, such as polyphenols, which have anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce disease. Cinnamon has also been shown to reduce fasting blood sugar levels, having a potent anti-diabetic effect, and can also help lower insulin resistance.
Despite its name. nutmeg is not actually a nut, but rather a seed. Said to be the fruit of an evergreen tree native of Indonesia, nutmeg is packed with vitamins and minerals, which leads to many health benefits such as its ability to relieve pain, soothe indigestion, strengthen cognitive function, detoxify the body, reduce insomnia, increase 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, garam masala, in Vietnamese pho, as they give an earthy, savory note to dishes. Cloves have traditionally been used in medicine as they have many antioxidants like the compound eugenol, which has been shown to reduce oxidative stress and damage. Cloves are also a rich source of manganese, which is essential for 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 has special compounds that may help fight cancer cells. Cardamom may also protect against digestive issues, stomach ulcers, kill common mouth bacteria and prevent cavities.
Allspice refers to the dried berries of the plant Pimenta dioica, an evergreen shru, and is named allspice because it has properties reminiscent of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pepper, juniper, and ginger combined. Allspice has carminative properties, which means it can 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 get your spice on? Try adding some spice to your favorite treat like some cinnamon to these paleo brownies or sprinkle one of these spices in your morning latte. You’ll be getting so many benefits and delicious flavor all at the same time!