As you age you’ve probably noticed a lot of things in your life have changed — including your taste buds. And while certain favorites may not seem as flavorful to you as they once did, your shifting taste buds don’t necessarily mean a life of eating bland food.
The right spices can make all the difference and, if you're clever in your spice selection, they can benefit your health as well. With that in mind, here are seven succulent spices, loaded with health benefits, and some ideas on how to enjoy them.
According to some nutritionists, this little woody herb can have a big impact on your health. Sage carries the same organic compounds as its sister herb rosemary as well as having a peppery flavor. Using sage has been shown to boost cognition, reduce inflammation and even increase brain function, helping to ward against Alzheimer’s disease. Pair sage with most meats — particularly chicken or lamb — to add a new flavor to your favorite dish.
A member of the ginger family, turmeric is an orangish-yellow spice that contains curcumin, a compound that has yielded positive results in reducing depression. Curcumin has also been shown to help steady your blood sugar levels and fight off viral infections such as the flu or herpes. To add turmeric to your diet, head east — at least in your meal inspiration. The spice is commonly used in dishes from India, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, and it will add a new flavor spin to roasted vegetables, rice or soups. It’s also a great addition to scrambles and frittatas.
The herb most commonly known for its role in dill pickles, dill is packed with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A and C, Beta-carotene, calcium, iron and magnesium, among others. These nutrition sources promote healthy skin, minimize osteoporosis, support the quicker healing of broken bones and strengthen the overall immune system. In addition to pickles, dill butter can be added to baby carrots, green beans or even salmon.
We spoke about sage above, now it’s rosemary’s turn. Rosemary is rich in a wide array of vitamins including A, B6 and C. It also contains minerals such as copper, iron, calcium and magnesium. Like sage, rosemary has been shown to ward against Alzheimer’s disease but it has also been proven to support cancer prevention, stress reduction and even promote hair growth. Rosemary can be used to season meat like chicken or pork but it can also add a new flavor to potatoes and other vegetables.
Ginger is well known among foodies and well-loved among health-conscious individuals for its many benefits. Among these positives, ginger may be the most appealing because it is a powerful anti-inflammatory and also an antioxidant. Ginger has also been proven to be a successful solution for treating nausea, muscle soreness and to lower blood sugar. A popular addition to many desserts, ginger can also be used to season fish or chicken.
Cinnamon is a prime example of a spice that’s not only good to eat but good for you as well. Loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, cinnamon has been shown to lower blood sugar, fight fungal and bacterial infections and perhaps even help protect against cancer. And while everyone has their own favorite cinnamon roll or muffin recipe, you may also enjoy cinnamon-covered oranges, biscotti or even cinnamon butter.
Continuing the trend of tasty dessert spices that have real health benefits, we come to mint. Mint has been used to treat asthma, support digestion and prevent several respiratory disorders. And while mint dessert recipes can be found anywhere, you can add mint to other aspects of your diet with mint-flavored lemonade, mint chicken and even mint chutney.