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The Health Benefits of 10 Flavorful Herbs and Spices

February 15, 2024

An assortment of spices in bowls which offer health benefits

Are you looking to spice up your meals with savory flavors? Herbs and spices not only enhance the flavor of our favorite dishes, but they offer a few health benefits, too.

Atlantic Health System registered dietitian Shannon Roque, RD, explains the healing properties of 10 popular spices that should be stocked in every kitchen — and how they contribute to our well-being.

1. Turmeric

Known for its vibrant golden hue, turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Its active compound, curcumin, helps alleviate joint pain, reduce the risk of chronic diseases and even supports brain health.

2. Cinnamon

The sweet aroma and flavor of cinnamon helps improve blood sugar control, which is beneficial in managing diabetes. It also contains antioxidants to help fight stress, promote heart health and reduce inflammation.

3. Garlic

Garlic is a medicinal powerhouse, rich in allicin that may help fight infections and boost the immune system. It has also been associated with heart health, helping to lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels.

4. Ginger

The zesty flavor of ginger is a remedy for nausea and digestive discomfort, and an excellent choice for people prone to motion sickness or morning sickness. Ginger can also aid in managing inflammatory conditions.

5. Peppermint

Peppermint oil is more than a refreshing flavor. It has been shown to alleviate bloating and abdominal pain. Plus, the menthol in peppermint can provide relief from headaches and sinus congestion.

6. Cayenne

Cayenne pepper heat packs anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties. It can help boost metabolism, reduce appetite, lower blood pressure and help promote healthy blood circulation.

7. Allspice

Allspice blends several spices into an aromatic flavor profile. With antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, allspice helps soothe digestive issues, alleviate pain and even helps in treating infections.

8. Saffron

Known for its deep red color and delicate flavor, saffron also contains mood-enhancing properties. Some studies suggest saffron may even help alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.

9. Basil

This popular herb contains essential oils with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties that may contribute to skin health, support the immune system and even help manage stress.

10. Oregano

Oregano is more than a pizza topping. It’s a potent herb with healing properties that can help combat infections and support the body’s immune system.

“Herbs and spices are culinary treasures,” says Shannon. “Whether they’re fresh or dried, these flavorful additions are a simple and delicious way to enhance our diets with goodness.”

Be Proactive About Your Health

To stay safe and healthy, it's good to have a primary care provider who knows and understands your health history and wellness goals.

  • Nutrition