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Monday, April 9, 2018

Spice it Up!


The Journal of Medicinal Foods recently published a top-ten list of herbs and spices that decrease aging.  Mostly due to their antioxidant values, this list included spices such as: cloves, cinnamon, allspice, apple spice, pumpkin spice, Italian spice, oregano, marjoram, sage, and thyme.  As a general rule, all herbs and spices are health-promoting largely due to their inherent minerals and vitamins.  With this in mind, I uncovered some specific cooking spices that have been well recognized in boosting health.

If you are looking to boost your general immune function try the following:  Licorice can reduce inflammation by boosting the steroid production of the adrenal glands.  Turmeric and oregano act as very strong antioxidants which will reduce stress to the immune system.  To help with other inflammatory and infectious disorders try these:  Cloves, ginger, and nutmeg all reduce inflammation and help fight against bacteria.  Likewise, cinnamon helps fight various bacteria and has even been known to kill E. coli and assist with urinary tract infections.  Although it’s only been proven in mice studies thus far, nutmeg has elicited significant reductions in anxiety and depression and also insomnia.

In addition to its immune benefits, turmeric has also been proven to provide numerous anti-cancer benefits.  Turmeric is a spice that is mostly found in Indian food where rates of colon, breast, prostate, and lung cancers are all 10 times lower than what we see in the U.S.  How does it do this?  Numerous studies have found that turmeric inhibits the production of tumor cells, it boosts liver function to help detoxify, and it also helps destroy mutated cancer cells so that they cannot spread through the body.  Just like the rest of these spices, turmeric only works if you cook with it and this only happens when you are in your kitchen cooking real food.  Don’t look for many of these spices when you are going out to eat.  My advice would be to look up a few recipes containing these spices that you could start cooking routinely.

The only downside to turmeric is that most of it is bioavailable at 15%. This means that however much you eat or take in a capsule is only getting into the cells at 15%. Inflavonoid by Metagenics has solved this problem. When they combine curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) with fenugreek fiber, absorption into the cells is increased by 45 times making it that much more effective. We carry this as a regular supplement in our office if you’re interested in trying it.

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