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5 Healthy Herbs and Spices for Cooking

Sprinkle these flavors into your meals for tasty health benefits you’ll savor.

Garlic is one of the healthy herbs and spices that can add more flavor and nutrition to your mealsWhat if there was an easy way to make your food more delicious and flavorful, and improve your health? Thanks to the power of healthy herbs and spices that are inexpensive and easy-to-find – there is! By cooking with a variety of herbs and spices, you can enjoy a myriad of health benefits while experiencing exotic and delightful flavor combinations.

Stock your pantry with these healthy herbs and spices for cooking:

  • Garlic (for the immune system)
  • Sage (for brain and memory)
  • Cinnamon (for blood sugar and inflammation)
  • Turmeric (for healthy aging)
  • Ginger (for nausea and pain)

Read more about the health benefits of these herbs and spices for cooking below.

1. Garlic (for the immune system)
Here’s a compelling reason to embrace garlic breath: it can help ward off some illnesses (and vampires, of course). Its main active ingredient is a compound called allicin, which boosts the immune system and helps you fight off germs. Studies have shown that people who regularly consume garlic get sick less frequently, and if they do get sick, their symptoms can be less severe.

The healthiest way to use garlic is fresh off the clove. Interestingly, due to the chemical reactions of garlic with oxygen, the way you prep your fresh garlic makes a difference: crushing garlic and letting it stand for 10 minutes before cooking is the best way to activate the enzyme that produces allicin.

Garlic adds a savory dimension to many recipes, from soup to mussels or eggs. You can even roast a head of garlic and eat the cloves on their own – especially if you feel sickness coming on!

2. Sage (for brain and memory)
Sage is an aromatic herb that may help promote memory. Researchers found that participants who took sage oil capsules consistently performed better on word recall tests, which may be a sign of its memory-enhancing effects.

You can use fresh or dried sage but be aware that the dried version tastes much more potent, so a little goes a long way.

There are plenty of ways to use sage in cooking. The taste can be fragrant and almost pine-like, which adds an interesting note to soups, stews, and roasted vegetables.

3. Cinnamon (for blood sugar and inflammation)
Finally, a dessert ingredient that’s good for you! Studies show that using cinnamon can have a positive effect on insulin sensitivity and blood sugar. It’s one of the healthiest herbs and spices you can use to help manage diabetes.

Cinnamon usually comes in the form of cinnamon sticks, which are great for fall drinks like cider and mulled wine, or it’s also available in ground powder.

Apples and cinnamon are a match made in heaven, so for a healthy, sweet dessert with no sugar added, try cinnamon skillet apples (only three ingredients!).

4. Turmeric (for healthy aging)
If you love curries, you’re in luck: they’re helping you stay young! Turmeric, one of the main ingredients in curry powder, contains a powerful antioxidant called curcumin that slows oxidative damage, which is a key component behind aging and a host of diseases from cancer to heart disease. The compound also contains effective anti-inflammatory health benefits and may be useful in treating hay fever, depression, high cholesterol, and osteoarthritis.

Ground turmeric is the most common form of the dried spice, but you can also have it fresh off the root.

In addition to curry, turmeric is delicious in all types of recipes. Aromatic and earthy, it is best when used in a blend of spices. Try out one of these 49 recipes to add more of this healthy ingredient to your life.

5. Ginger (for nausea and pain)
Many people reach for the ginger ale when their stomach is feeling queasy – and it’s a tradition with a good reason behind it! Studies indicate that ginger is effective for nausea relief. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory pain reliever for muscle injury and osteoarthritis.

For best results, you’ll want about a gram of ginger. Use fresh ginger root to prepare tea, broth, stir-fries, or one of these other healthy ginger recipes.

Most spices and dried herbs will keep best when stored in a cool, dark, dry place inside an airtight container. Find more storage tips here.

Inspire your cooking with new flavors and gain all the health benefits when you cook with these and other healthy herbs and spices. For more tips on healthy living, keep reading our senior living, health and wellness blog today.