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5 Herbs and Spices with Health Benefits
Many of us consume a variety of herbs and spices when we cook or eat different meals. Herbs and spices allow dishes to have distinct and tasty flavors, but they also been known to provide many health benefits.
Here are five different herbs and spices, as well as why herbs and spices are beneficial to our health.
Peppermint is known for its soothing aromatherapy and holiday-themed desserts and drinks. Peppermint is used in many recipes, as well as a variety of cosmetic products.
Peppermint has a history of being used for medicine. The oily component in peppermint is what contains its health benefits.
According to a study conducted by the National Library of Medicine, peppermint can help ease the pain of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).1 Peppermint relaxes the muscles in the colon, which in turn reduces pain during bowel movements.
Another digestive concern, abdominal bloating, is common among many individuals. Peppermint can help reduce this symptom as well.
Researchers have found that when used in aromatherapy, peppermint can reduce nausea. The National Library of Medicine conducted studies on pregnant women and individuals post-op, and peppermint reduced their nausea symptoms.3
With the wide range of health benefits that peppermint provides, this is one example why herbs and spices are beneficial to our health.
Cinnamon is a common spice used in many foods and meals, including oatmeal, cinnamon rolls, and even some dinner recipes. Cinnamon is the second most popular spice in the United States behind black pepper.5
Studies have shown that cinnamon may be helpful in reducing blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Cinnamon might also help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. An extract in cinnamon bark, CEppt, has properties that might prevent Alzheimer’s symptoms from developing.5
Cinnamon also contains vitamins and many antioxidants including lycopene and beta carotenoid, which can be converted into vitamin A.6 Vitamin A is necessary for immune health, eye health, and more.
These antioxidants are another reason as to why herbs and spices are beneficial to our health.
Turmeric comes from the turmeric plant. It’s a popular spice in Indian, Asian, and Middle Eastern cuisine. If you’ve tried a curry dish before, you are probably familiar with turmeric.
Turmeric is used for many different kinds of medicine and healing in other cultures. One common factor of turmeric is that is contains curcumin, a chemical that helps decrease swelling and inflammation.7
Turmeric can help lower your cholesterol by lowering the number of triglycerides. Turmeric has also been shown to reduce pain in individuals with osteoarthritis.7
Ginger is a popular spice used in teas and often comes with your sushi order. Ginger is a flowering plant, and the underground part of the stem, known as the rhizome, is what is commonly used as ginger root.8
Ginger is used in recipes when it’s fresh, as well as in the form of a powder, oil, and more.
Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties as well as antioxidants. Gingerol, the main bioactive compound found in ginger, is what contains most of ginger’s medicinal benefits.8
Ginger can help lower the risk of infections by fighting bacteria and viruses. Studies have also found that ginger can be used to reduce nausea and aid in weight loss.10 Ginger is known to help with the discomfort of indigestion as well.
Ginger provides essential antioxidants and helps fight off infections, which is another reason why herbs and spices are beneficial to our health.
Rosemary is a strongly-scented herb that is native to the Mediterranean and part of the mint family, along with oregano and basil.11 Rosemary leaves are typically used in meals for flavor, as well as in tea or it can be used as an oil for multiple purposes.
Rosemary contains iron, calcium, and vitamin B-6.11 Rosemary has been used since ancient times to boost the immune system and relieve pain.
When used in aromatherapy, rosemary can help improve concentration and memory. A study conducted by PubMed Central found that 20 healthy adults who inhaled the rosemary aroma for up to ten minutes before a test had improved concentration and performance.13
Experience the Health Benefits
Now that you’re aware of the health benefits of these spices and herbs, trying adding one or more into your diet today.
At Saber Healthcare, our dietary team works to provide residents with nutritious and tasty meals that meet their nutritional needs.
To learn more about what services Saber Healthcare offers, click here.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- “Efficacy of Peppermint oil in diarrhea predominant IBS - a double blind randomized placebo - controlled study.” National Library of Medicine, pubmed.gov. Accessed July 12th, 2021. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23416804/.
- “An investigation into the use of aromatherapy in intrapartum midwifery practice.” National Library of Medicine, pubmed.gov. Accessed July 12th, 2021. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10784271/.
- “Peppermint oil: a treatment for postoperative nausea.” National Library of Medicine, pubmed.gov. Accessed July 12th, 2021. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9378876/.
- Brazier, Yvette and Wilson, Debra. “Health benefits and risks of peppermint.” Healthline Media, Medical News Today. June 27th, 2017. Accessed July 12th, 2021. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265214#Possible-health-benefits.
- Brazier, Yvette and Marengo, Katherine. “What are the health benefits of cinnamon?” Healthline Media, Medical News Today. January 3rd, 2020. Accessed July 12th, 2021. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266069.
- Newman, Tim. “All you need to know about beta carotene.” Healthline Media, Medical News Today. December 14th, 2017. Accessed July 12th, 2021. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/252758#_noHeaderPrefixedContent.
- “Turmeric.” WebMD LLC, webmd.com. Accessed July 12th, 2021. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-662/turmeric.
- Marengo, Katherine and Leech, Joe. “11 Proven Health Benefits of Ginger.” Healthline Media, healthline.com. March 19th, 2021. Accessed July 12th, 2021. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/11-proven-benefits-of-ginger.
- “Ginger on Human Health: A Comprehensive Systematic Review of 109 Randomized Controlled Trials.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Accessed July 12th, 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7019938/.
- “The effects of ginger intake on weight loss and metabolic profiles among overweight and obese subjects: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.” National Library of Medicine, pubmed.gov. Accessed July 12th, 2021. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29393665/.
- Nordqvist, Joseph. “Everything you need to know about rosemary.” Healthline Media, Medical News Today. December 13th, 2017. Accessed July 12th, 2021. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266370#_noHeaderPrefixedContent.
- “Health Benefits of Rosemary.” WebMD LLC, Nourish by WebMD. Accessed July 12th, 2021. https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-rosemary#1.
- “Plasma 1,8-cineole correlates with cognitive performance following exposure to rosemary essential oil aroma.” National Library of Medicine, pubmed.gov. Accessed July 12th, 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3736918/.