Spices are no longer strange-colored powders that get pushed to the back of the cabinet, only to be taken out once in a blue moon to make a curry or tagine. Nope – Spices have now taken their rightful place, center stage, as some of the most important dietary nutrients. So I highly recommend that you spice up your morning!
I like to take my spices in the morning, so no matter what the day’s meals bring, I know that I’ve ingested the bare minimum.
So, what are the most important spices we need for preventative healthcare?
- Turmeric: It’s great that this golden spice is now getting the attention as it deserves as one of the most powerful ways to bring inflammation down. And, I’m talking about the kind of inflammation that’s implicated in arthritis, and a number of other debilitating issues. Remember that chronic inflammation is now thought to be the cause of many diseases; and cancers including, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, multiple myeloma, and myelogenous leukemia. Although a compound in turmeric called curcumin is the extract that’s believed to be the one we need, it’s actually more important that you get the whole turmeric food. You can either get this in supplement form, or buy the actual root. Piperine in pepper increases the bioavailability of turmeric, so adding a tiny pinch to your recipe is important. Or, you can look for a supplement, which includes black pepper in its formulation. I like Turmeric Supreme by Gaia. Are there any contraindications? If you have any gallbladder issues, you should be careful. Too much turmeric may increase the risk of kidney stones. But, always speak to your doctor before including any supplements in your diet that may affect current health issues, or meds that you’re taking.
- Cayenne: Cayenne pepper is often included in weight-loss diets and cleanse programs because it’s thought to be huge metabolism booster. Sprinkling just a third of a teaspoon of Cayenne onto your food, can increase your metabolism and the speed at which your body burns fat. However Cayenne has a lot of other significant health benefits: It’s found to be particularly effective in stabilizing blood sugar, so might be helpful for those who are pre-diabetic or diabetic. It also helps with inflammation, IBS, and chronic indigestion. Are there any contraindications: You should check with your doctor is you have any health issues, especially heart or stomach. Also, I would avoid eating cayenne while pregnant.
- Cinnamon: Make sure you are using Ceylon cinnamon (true cinnamon), as opposed to Cassia cinnamon, because it’s safer. Cinnamon is one of the most powerful antioxidants, and inexpensive to boot. I recommend 1 tsp a day. Contraindications: Always check with your doc first, especially if you are taking any medications.
Spice Up Your Morning Smoothie
This smoothie has it all, and is just delicious. If you are pregnant, or paying attention to any of the contraindications listed above, you can customize your smoothie by taking out any of the spices that you don’t need or want.
- 8 ounces rice or almond milk
- 1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
- 1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cayenne
- 1 tsp Ceylon cinnamon
- 2 pitted dates (optional)
- 1 tbsp chia (soaked overnight in 2 tbsp water)
Toss everything into a high speed blender, and enjoy!