Most of us have spices in our kitchen cabinet that we haphazardly throw into various recipes, but how often do we think about the nutritional value or health benefits of these spices?
Spices originate from plants: flowers, fruits, seeds, barks, leaves, and roots. They not only add flavor to your foods, spices contain vitamin and minerals as well as metabolism-boosting, anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. In fact, in medieval times, spices were used as medicine. People didn’t have antibiotics, they had black pepper, turmeric, cinnamon and ginger.
Below are a few of our favorite spices and their health benefits:
Cinnamon not only has impressive benefits for blood sugar regulation, it may help boost your metabolism, making it an ideal spice for people with diabetes or pre-diabetes. Research has shown that it can significantly reduce blood sugar levels, triglycerides, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes, as well as increase glucose metabolism. Try sprinkling some in your coffee, on your yogurt, in Bolognese sauce, or on top of ½ baked sweet potato with a teaspoon of virgin coconut oil.
Black Pepper contains a substance called piperine. Piperine has similar effects to capsaicin in chilies and is what gives black pepper its heat. It’s the heat which helps prevent the formation of new fat cells, especially if you decide to indulge in a spicy meal featuring pepper and chili. Feel free to sprinkle it on any savory dish for a little heat!
Dandelions contain fiber that can help you feel full longer which in turn can help control your appetite. The roots and leaves of the plant have been used as medicine for bloating and digestive disorders. The leaves of the plant are rich in vitamins, including A, C, D, and B-complex. Dandelions also have high levels of minerals like iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, manganese, copper, choline, and calcium. Add some dandelion greens to your salad, or try some dandelion tea.
Ginger is a spice that has anti-inflammatory properties and is known to help soothe and relax your intestinal tract. Research shows that ginger may have thermogenic properties that help boost your metabolism, as well as have an appetite-suppressant effect when consumed, potentially playing a role in weight management. Try grating some fresh ginger in your next stir-fry, or adding it to a curry dish, or pick-up some Thai Ginger Tea at Marin Weight Loss & Wellness during your next visit.
Good fats are defined as naturally occurring and not damaged by high heat, over-processing or refining. Bad fats are damaged fats that have been processed at high heat and have, therefore, become oxidized (vegetable oil, soybean oil, fried foods). The best fats are found in avocados, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, coconut & virgin coconut oil, pastured butter, pastured eggs, and cold water fish (salmon, sardines, mackerel & halibut).
From lowering bad cholesterol and helping shed excess weight to giving you shiny hair and healthy nails, your body will reap the benefits of these healthy fats. They are also essential for brain and cellular health, digestion and nutrient absorption because they nourish the lining of the gut.
Ginger Lime Salmon
- 4 4 oz. salmon fillets (preferably wild)
- 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Tamari (wheat free soy sauce)
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 Teaspoons peeled fresh grated ginger
- 1 1/2 Teaspoons sesame oil
- 1/2 Teaspoons raw honey
- 1 Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
Mix marinade ingredients. Place fillet(s) in plastic sealable bag and pour marinade over, turning to coat. Let marinate 30 minutes at room temperature or 1 hour in the refrigerator, turning the fish once or twice to distribute the marinade evenly.
Prepare your grill. Drain fish, reserving marinade. Place fillets on grill over indirect high heat and cover. Baste occasionally with the marinade. Do NOT turn the salmon fillets.
When they are done, the fillets will lift easily from the skin. Approximately 5-6 minutes/1/2" inch of fillet.