Many of us are looking for ways to easily add health-benefiting nutrients into our diets. Sprinkling in herbs and spices may be the simplest step yet. Turmeric, ginger, garlic and peppermint are some of the top herbs and spices with health boosting properties and have become a top food trend as people are looking for more natural remedies.
Here are a few things you should know about these four herbs and spices, plus tips on how you can incorporate them into your daily diet:
Turmeric is an orange-colored spice that has been used in India for thousands of years as a common addition to curry and for its medicinal benefits for joint pain and fatigue. It’s still used today for those and other benefits, like to reduce skin irritations and plaque build-up on teeth. Preliminary studies are looking into one of turmeric’s components, curcumin, for Alzheimer’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and prostate and colon cancer. Ask your health care provider if you are considering adding turmeric to your diet.
Easy ways to add turmeric to your diet:
- Add a sprinkle of turmeric powder to scrambled eggs, rice or soup.
- Toss fresh vegetables in 1 tbsp. of turmeric powder, 1 tbsp. of olive oil and 2 tbsp. of water.
- Blend ¼ tsp. of turmeric powder or raw turmeric it into a smoothie.
- Steep 2 tsp. of fresh grated turmeric in hot water and drink as tea.
Ginger is loaded with nutrients. Similarly to turmeric, its component gingerol has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Some evidence has indicated that ginger may be helpful in relieving nausea during pregnancy and, when combined with anti-nausea medication, may even help control those symptoms during chemotherapy. However, research is still needed to determine ginger’s effectiveness for post-surgery nausea, motion sickness or rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. If you’re considering using ginger to help with pregnancy nausea, you may want to consult your health care provider beforehand.
Easy ways to add ginger to your diet:
- Add 1 tbsp. of fresh ginger root to a smoothie or juice.
- Throw 1 tsp. of fresh or dried ginger into your stir fry.
- Peel and steep a 2-inch piece of fresh ginger root in boiling water with 1 sliced lemon to drink as tea.
Historically, garlic has been used for medicinal purposes across the globe to help combat the common cold, high-blood pressure and other ailments. However, evidence is lacking on whether it can truly have an effect on cholesterol or blood pressure and there’s not enough scientific research to say if it actually helps cure the common cold. Some studies have indicated that certain people who eat a lot of garlic (not in dietary supplement form) may be less likely to develop stomach and colon cancers.
Easy ways to add garlic to your diet:
- Throw in 3 cloves of minced garlic when cooking vegetables like broccoli, carrots or spinach.
- Add a few cloves of fresh garlic to soups, salsa or pasta sauces.
- Sprinkle minced or powdered garlic on top of buttered toast.
Both the leaves from peppermint and the extracted essential oil have been used for health purposes for thousands of years. In the small amount of research that has been done on peppermint oil, it has shown a promising indication to help improve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms. Topically, diluted peppermint oil may also help relieve some tension headaches when rubbed on your temples — however, evidence in this practice is limited. A small data sample also found it may help improve concentration.
Easy ways to add peppermint to your diet:
- Throw 3 or 4 sliced mint leaves into a fresh fruit salsa or salad.
- Mix 1 tbsp. of finely chopped mint leaves in with Greek yogurt and berries.
- Add 15 mint leaves to boiling water to drink as a tea.