Spices have superpowers!
Posted on December 23rd, 2016
Hello my lovely warriors! Hope you are all well. It’s very chilly here in New York so I am currently bundled up in my Good Vibes sweatshirt, yoga pants and slippers!
Today I want to discuss spices! Spices have been used for years in Ayurveda for their healing properties, but it is only recently that I’ve noticed credible sources, like the Harvard Medical School, release information stating that spices are good for us. It’s wonderful to see more scientific research that reaffirms how important it is for us to eat well, move our bodies, and keep stress levels down as a means for a healthy life. For me, it’s all about finding a perfect balance of east and western medicine.
SO how exactly do spices have superpowers ??! Well technically they don’t (would be cool!), but they do contain nutrients that can sharpen memory, reduce stress and improve sleep. Furthermore, another study at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, reported a list of spices that may help fight dementia, depression, insomnia, epilepsy, memory loss, and Parkinson’s disease. Now you get why I think spices have superpowers!
How do these spices help fight these diseases? Well all these spices have one property in common: they fight inflammation. When we have inflammation, it can cause the above diseases. Of course, incorporating these spices into our diets doesn’t mean that suddenly poof ?everything is better, but it is a start and something that is so easy (and tasty!) to add in our diet. In addition, there is ongoing research of their positive effects.
With this in mind, here is a list of some ‘superpower’ spices:
Turmeric is the wonder of spices. Ayurvedic practioners use it a lot, especially for its anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin, a natural component in turmeric, has shown to enter the brain, bind and DESTROY beta-amyloid plaques that are present in Alzheimer’s. These nasty beta-amyloid plaques are what drive the irreversible loss of neurons in Alzheimer’s disease. Research is still underway how to transmit the curcumin like molecule into the brain as a method of treatment.
It’s time to sprinkle cinnamon on your morning oatmeal or in your coffee. Some studies have shown that adding cinnamon to your diet could help the brain in the long-term. The research behind this shows that cinnamon releases a chemical called sodium benzoate that helps to stimulate neurotropic factors. These chemicals help improve cell growth and keep existing cells happy! Alzheimer’s for example, creates plagues and tangles, which cinnamon might help.
An animal study in the July 2015 issue of Nutritional Neuroscience found that cinnamon helped protect lab rats from brain damage due to stress. The benefits for humans showed improved memory, reduced inflammation, increased attention and focus, and increased cognitive brain functioning. Research for the benefits of cinnamon is still in the early stages, but still it doesn’t hurt to add a little flavour to your life!
Cloves, a source of antioxidant properties, also have anti-inflammatory properties AND disinfectant properties. And, according to research, one of the compounds found in cloves is actually more potent to reduce blood clots than aspirin! Crazy!
Ginger was one of my favourite spices during post-surgery! Not only does it reduce inflammation, but also helps to fight pain and nausea. Highly recommend ginger tea! Ginger also helps to fight free radicals, acts as a blood thinner and could also help protect the brain from deterioration and Alzheimer’s’. A 2012 study showed that ginger improved cognitive function, such as memory, in middle-aged healthy women. Time to get yo’ ginger on!
Last but not least, we have cardamom. Cardamom has both antibacterial and antioxidant properties. The spice has been shown to reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of stroke.
So while research is limited, it is still pretty incredible what studies are starting to show. When possible, use spices as a substitute for sugar (sugar obviously tastes good but is a no no for our health). It’s all about finding little tricks to help achieve every day balance that aids our overall health and wellbeing.
If you’re dealing with the cold right now, stay warm! The last think you need is to get sick as tis the season for coughs and colds ❄️. For all you sunshine warriors ?, hope you are soaking up some vitamin D (and then adding sunscreen protection of course).
Love & light! xo