Though cinnamon is known for being a flavor enhancer in sweet baked goods, it is a natural remedy for controlling blood sugar levels. A study in the Journal of Nutrition found that when a meal contained a spice blend including cinnamon, antioxidant activity in the blood was increased by 13 percent and insulin response decreased by about 20 percent. Researchers theorize that cinnamaldehyde, cinnamon’s active ingredient, works as a blood-sugar balancer by stimulating insulin receptors on cells and allowing excess sugar to move out of the blood.
Turmeric contains several compounds with medicinal properties, the most important of which is curcumin. A powerful antioxidant that helps to fight oxidative damage and boosts the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.This is important, because oxidative damage is believed to be one of the key mechanisms behind ageing and many diseases. There is a growing volume of research about the role of curcumin in the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
Like turmeric, ginger has strong anti-inflammatory properties that help with pain management. The anti-inflammatory components can be attributed to gingerols; compounds that are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-disease. Research shows that ginger can be a powerful muscle relaxant, that helps reduce soreness brought on by exercise by as much as 25 percent
Throughout ancient history, the main use of garlic was for its health and medicinal properties. Scientists now know that most of its health benefits are caused by sulfur compounds formed when a garlic clove is chopped, crushed or chewed. Perhaps the most famous of those is known as allicin which is also responsible for garlic’s distinct smell. For those with high cholesterol, garlic supplementation appears to reduce total and/or LDL cholesterol by about 10-15%
Human studies have also found garlic supplementation to cause significant reductions in blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
Studies suggest chili, like cayenne pepper, can do everything from reducing blood pressure to clearing up sinus inflammation. What’s even more fascinating is the effects cayenne pepper have on weight loss. Fiery capsaicin, the compound that gives chiles their signature kick, has been shown to increase body heat, boost metabolic rate and decrease appetite. Red cayenne chiles are among the hottest at the market which means it contains more capsaicin.
Get all the benefits you can from these powerful yet delicious spices. Start adding dried herbs and spices to you diet today!