Spices are powerhouses when it comes to antioxidants, minerals and of course flavor!
A few tips about getting the most nutritional bang from your spices:
1. Buy organic, non-irradiated spices. This ensures no additional chemicals are on your spice and by buying non-irradiated spices you ensure the spice has not been heated (which is how they dry them) which can make oils in the spice go rancid which is not good for your body.
2. Try to buy spices fresh (!). If you can find a reputable retailer this helps. Another way to make spices ‘fresh’ is to buy the whole spice and not the ground up varieties. I know this may be hard to do but buying cinnamon sticks and grinding them in a spice or coffee grinder really allows the flavor to be potent! While I don’t do this myself for cinnamon my fiancé does this for chipotle peppers and the flavor is intense!
3. Store spices in the freezer or fridge, yes for real. I know everyone wants to display their spices in cute jars but it’s not so cute for the nutrition or flavor profile. I used to store my spices over the stove where it would be exposed to heat and light constantly. Light and heat can destroy the valuable compounds in the spice which reduces the nutrition and the flavor. I now store my spices like cinnamon in the fridge and it has made a difference in the flavor. The flavor remains strong from first opening to the last sprinkle.
4. Store spices in a dark area to prevent light damage. Again beneficial compounds in the spices can be destroyed in this manner.
5. If you really want to up the freshness of your spices or herbs consider buying them in season (eg. Basil, dill and fresh tumeric) and dehydrating them yourself (at 110F). This not only helps preserve the enzymes but also the flavor!
6. Make your own salt from dehydrated leeks and celery. I just learned about this at the Ann Wigmore Institute. These vegetables are rich in electrolytes and flavor, mmmm. Simply chop up leeks and/or celery and dehydrate for 24 hours at 110F and grind in a vita-mix or spice grinder.
Some of my favorite daily spices:
I use this daily, 2-3 times a day in fact! I have it with my lemon water first thing in the morning, and with my lunch and dinner. I love the little kick of flavor it gives to dishes and how it wakes me up in the morning. Try it and perhaps you won’t need as much coffee!
Why it is so good for you:
- contains capsaicin which helps to break up mucus congestion, is anti-inflammatory, helps with digestive health, and promotes heart health
- increases metabolic rate
I use a lot of cinnamon in my morning green smoothie. I find it gives a sweet, spicy flavor and is a warming spice so it makes me feel all cozy inside!
Why it is so good for you:
- promotes balanced blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin receptors which increases a cell’s ability to use glucose
- anti-inflammatory which benefits the heart
- antimicrobial; helps to stop the growth of candida (a yeast found in the body) and the bacteria that causes ulcers
- concentrated source of calcium and manganese which are needed for strong bones