Spice Rack Rx

As someone who tends to be heavy-handed with spices, I was delighted to learn that many of those herbs and powders have strong healing powers.

In fact, it's almost as if my spice rack can do double duty as my medicine cabinet.

Who knew, for instance, that turmeric functions a bit like ibuprofin, because it reduces inflammation and soothes sore muscles? Not only that but it also may stave off Alzheimers by sweeping away bits of plaque that can accumulate in the brain.

That's according to an article in Self magazine, which also cites recent studies on the many benefits of chili peppers. Research shows that adding red chili flakes to a meal can curb appetite throughout the day.

Along with its powers as an appetite suppressant, chilis may be a mood-lifter. Research shows they release feel-good endorphins in order to soothe the pain receptors in our mouths. The result is a cheerier disposition.

But these aren't the only healthy spices at our disposal. According to Web MD, here are some other spices to reach for on a regular basis to increase well-being:

  • Cinnamon has been shown to reduce blood sugar levels, and some scientists say that a half teaspoon of cinnamon sprinkled on lattes or cereals can help prevent diabetes. It's also great for digestion and circulation and fighting off colds, coughs, and fevers.
  • Cardamom can help ease indigestion, sore throats, and nasal congestion. As an added bonus, it freshens breath. Try adding it (along with cinnamon and ginger) to some chai.
  • Cumin is said to be excellent for colds, fevers, and digestion. Perhaps that's why Indian doctors believe that it purifies the blood.
  • Garlic has long been known to have curative powers. Some swear that it boosts the body's immune system and fends off colds and the flu (it's never worked for me). But it's also proven to improve cardiovascular health. Maybe that's why so many of us love the stuff.
  • Ginger, as anyone who's turned to flat ginger ale for an upset stomach will tell you, settles the disgestive system.

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