• Spices for Your Food – Enhance Taste and Health

    I’ve been cooking with herbs & spices for decades. I love the way they can really perk up a dish, but I never really gave much thought to the health benefits. Since I’ve been researching what are my best and healthiest food options, the how to use and which herbs & spices to use has opened up an exciting new world of cooking. And now that I’m into essential oils, my dishes are even healthier and more flavorful! 

    In this post I will share some of the health benefits of the more popular spices. For health info on herbs go to my post on the  Health Benefits of Herbs

    What, Where & Why

    • Spices are generally derived from the bark, root, fruit, or berries of perennial plants and trees. Examples: cinnamon is the bark, ginger the root, nutmeg the fruit, pepper the berry. Other spices in your cupboard are actually blends such as curry, chili powder, seasoned salt, pickling/pumpkin spices, etc.
    • Spices (& herbs) are classified botanically as fruits and vegetables. They offer higher levels of antioxidants since they no longer contain the water that makes up a large portion of fresh produce.

    cinnamon-oilOne teaspoon of ground cinnamon has the equivalent level of antioxidants as a half cup of blueberries or one cup of pomegranate juice. Just think of all the foods to which you add cinnamon!

    • Including spices in your recipes adds flavor so you are able to use less fat, salt &/or sugar.
    • Have anti-inflammatory properties.  Inflammation has been identified as a precursor to many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, allergies, and Alzheimer’s to name a few.
    • Some spices help to boost metabolism. The capsaicin in peppers are believed to have metabolic boosting properties.
    • Some spices help keep your blood sugar steady.
    • Help increase cell-protecting activities in your blood which defend you against many diseases, from arthritis to cancer.
    • If you eat foods that are flavorful and satisfying, there is a good chance you will eat less and consume fewer calories, too!

    Storage and Longevity 

    • It is best to store your spices in tightly closed containers in a cool dark place, like a cupboard away from the stove.
    • Most ground spices lose their potency after six months on the shelf. Whole spices keep their potency up to one year. It is wiser to buy small amounts that you will use up more quickly than bulk amounts.
    • Essential Oils are 50-70 time more potent than spices (& dried herbs) and when stored in closed glasscontainers away from light and heat, they will last for decades probably longer than you. Not all essential oils are created equal or to be taken internally. For this reason I ONLY use CPTG essential oils. I like that the oils I use are independently tested multiple times to ensure they are certified pure therapeutic grade, better than organic! Check them out HERE Contact me about getting wholesale pricing Kathy@kathyskinner.com 

    Learn about substituting with essential oils in my blog post 

    Some health benefits of common spices & blends

    Allspice – Helps with digestive & pain relief, used to treat bacterial and fungal infections as well as coughs, chills, bronchitis and depression. It resembles a mixture of clove, cinnamon & nutmeg.

    *Black PepperImprove digestion, promotes intestinal health, has antioxidant and antibacterial effects. The outer layer of the peppercorn stimulates the breakdown of fat cells, keeping you slim while giving you energy to burn.

    *Cassia or *Cinnamon – Can help regulate blood sugar, triglycerides, LDL, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes. Helps with purifying and water retention, inhibits bacterial growth and helps eliminate head/neck tension. Aim for one-fourth to one-half teaspoon of cinnamon twice a day. Add to plain Greek Yogurt, a drop of essential oil and fruit, in your oatmeal, etc

    *Cardamom – a spice made from the seed pods of various plants in the ginger family.   It offers gastrointestinal protection, cholesterol control, relief from cardiovascular issues, improvement of blood circulation, helpful with conditions of the mouth & bladder issues. It also possesses properties that cause excitement. Cardamom is used mainly in Middle Eastern cooking. It has a strong pungent flavor and aroma. I frequently will add a pod when making rice. It is the 3rd most expensive spice (saffron, vanilla bean)

    *Clove – has natural cleansing, purifying,  germ-destroying properties that help fight unwanted pathogens or bacteria, relieve digestive problems, reduce bloating of joint discomfort, helps with eye health and bad teeth

    The benefits of antioxidants include powerful protection against all types of degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, and many more. Sprinkle ground cloves on applesauce, add to quick bread batters, and add a pinch to hot tea. Grate fresh ginger into quick bread batters and vinaigrette. Add chopped ginger to stir-fries. Sprinkle ground ginger on cooked carrots.

    CocoaControversy on whether cocoa is a spice or not, I do because it is similar with some of the spices like curry, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. They all come in powdered form. It acts as a natural anti-depressant, antioxidant properties, can reduce blood pressure, boosts energy. When choosing cocoa to consume for health, it is Best to choose a high-quality dark chocolate. It should contain at least 70% cocoa and no dairy products.

    coriander*Coriander – Can be refer as both an herb and a spice Although the term coriander is used in much of the world in reference to both cilantro leaves and seeds, in the Americas, it generally refers to the dried cilantro seeds which are used as a spice both in whole form and ground. Protects against the seasonal or environmental threats, aids in digestion & helps settle the stomach & prevent flatulence, swelling that may alleviate symptoms of joint discomfort, protects against bladder problems.  It also helps improve or maintain healthy blood sugar or cholesterol levels.

    Coriander is a more subtle flavoring of spice & citrus flavor.  Coriander is often used in Spanish, Mexican, Latin and Indian cuisine. It’s a common ingredient in spice rubs, marinades, chilis, sauces, soups and curries and works well with onions, bell peppers, tomatoes and potatoes.  It pairs well with all the other spices in the “C” club: chili powder, cinnamon, curry and especially, cumin I use it in just about all my vegtable fermintation

    Cayenne Helps with pain relief, metabolism booster, prostate cancer fighter, anti-bacterial, helps with digestive issues & coughs, helps with migraines headaches, detoxifier. A dash helps bring out natural flavors of foods

    fennel-sweet1-800x800*Fennel Seeds/powderOffers digestive relief, anti-oxidant, helps maintain proper body functions, helps in prevention of swelling. Along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, can contribute to better health. It has a licorice like taste. Use seeds in breads, sausage, fish. Use essential oil to make tea.

    Garlic- Helps to destroys cancer cells and may disrupt the metabolism of tumor cells, protective benefits, reduces acne because of its anti-bacterial properties, help reduce inflammation. Add fresh chopped or minced garlic to pasta dishes, stir-fry dishes, pizza, fresh tomato sauce, and meat and poultry recipes.  ginger-1

    *Ginger – Can decrease motion sickness and nausea; may also relieve discomfort and swelling associated with joint discomfort, can also hinder blood clotting, an antioxidant. Ginger can be used in both sweet and savory dishes. mixed with honey and heated to provide a sweet gingery glaze on steamed carrots or broiled salmon fillets. Ginger also livens up marinades and sauces.

    Add a dash of warm sweet flavor to winter vegetables. Sprinkle Ground Ginger onto cooked carrots, acorn or butternut squash, or sweet potatoes.

    Mustard – Stimulates digestion, speeds up metabolism, inhibits cancer cell growth, reduces severity of asthma, decreases symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, lowering of high blood pressure, helps with prevention of migraines

    nutmegNutmeg (& Mace)- Helps relieve pain, soothe indigestion, strengthen cognitive function, detoxify the body, boost skin health, alleviate oral conditions, reduce insomnia, increase immune system function, and prevent leukemia, and improve blood circulation.

    PaprikaContains capsaicin, whose anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects may lower the risk of cancer, benefits night vision, helps control blood clot formation. Combine paprika with other spices, such as garlic powder and cayenne, and use as a healthful rub for chicken breast, fish or lean red meat. Lightly coat sweet potatoes in olive oil and paprika, and then roast until tender, or use paprika as a seasoning for roasted or steamed carrots. Add a spoonful of paprika to your favorite hummus to add flavor, or roast peeled chickpeas in a mix of paprika and coconut oil for a healthful snack. Finally, try using paprika to season homemade soups — it pairs especially well with pureed carrot, squash or pumpkin soups.

    Saltmostly known as a mineral. Some people say that salt is a mineral and not a spice. In actuality salt can be used to flavor food; therefore to me it is also a spice. Sodium chloride (salt) is essential to the body helping transmit nerve impulses. It plays an important role in maintaining the blood pressure and regulating our body fluids.

    Turmeric Can inhibit the growth of cancer cells, protects against cognitive decline associated with aging, a digestive aide, cholesterol reducer, lowers blood sugar, liver detoxifier, speeds up wound healing. Use it in eggs, salad dressings, meats, poultry, fish & rice dishes.

    Vanilla – Helps relieve pain, aches, stress, anxiety, depression, gas, fatigue, vomiting and nausea. Vanilla beans can also be a natural aphrodisiac. It contains anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties.


    Chili Powder – combination of cumin, coriander, chili peppers, garlic, cloves, paprika, salt, oregano, black pepper, & turmeric

    Chinese Five-Spice – ground cloves, anise, fennel, licorice root, & cinnamon

    Crushed Red PepperCrushed red pepper flakes are made up of a combination of red chili pepper types. Ancho, bell, cayenne and other peppers can all be part of the dried and ground pepper mix. Most of these peppers contain a compound called capsaicin, which can help deplete the brain of pain-signaling neurotransmitters, block inflammation, preventing prostate cancer cells from proliferating and inducing cell death, according to a study published in the journal “Cancer Research” in 2006. , appetite suppressant & loaded with anti-oxidants, enhances metabolism, increases satiety and helps with fat burning

    Use cayenne, crushed red pepper and paprika to spice up hummus, guacamole, cottage cheese and even mashed potatoes. She adds, “Give marinades or dressings a kick with a little cayenne or sprinkle paprika onto fish for a tasty and pretty change.

    Curry – cumin, coriander, turmeric, ginger, pepper, dill, mace, cardamom & cloves

    Pumpkin Spices – cinnamon, cloves & ginger.


    NOTE: The advice shared in document has not been evaluated by the FDA. The products and methods recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease, nor is it intended to replace proper medical help. Kindly understand that essential oils work to help to bring the body into balance – thus helping the body’s natural defenses to restore homeostasis

    November 9, 2016 • Essential Oils, Healthy Hints • Views: 757

  • Fall’s Fantastic Super Foods

    It’s Harvest Time—that amazing time of year when fresh produce abounds. This year I started a small veggies garden in pots on my deck and had a plot in my local community garden. So between them and the Farmer’s Market I have an abundance of fresh and delicious choices. The bonus is that Nature’s Bounty are brimming with secret health benefits! Here are some of my favorites of Fall’s fantastic super foods and why they’re a particularly good choice.


    Beans, Green: helps lover cholesterol, regulate blood sugar levels, protective against cancer, promotes bone health, & good source for anemia prevention (iron source for vegetarians)       Beans -string

    1 cup raw 31 calories, 3.4 grams fiber, 1.8 grams protein

    Beets: help strengthen bones, protect your heart, fights anemia, control blood pressure, combat cancer & aid in weight loss. 1 beet cooked is 22 calories, 1g fiber, 0.8g protein

    Broccoli: helps promote healthy nervous system, promote  digestive function, muscle growth, fight against free radicals, prevent age-related macular degeneration & cataracts, fights against heart diseases and cancers

    ½ cup raw (including stock) 15 calories, 1.1grams fiber, 1.2gram protein

    Carrots: helps save eyesight, protect your heart, prevent constipation, combat cancer & promote weight loss. ½ cup raw 23 calories, 1.5 grams fiber, 0.5grams protein.
    Cucumber: a natural diuretic, helps reduce constipation, place on the skin to help to alleviate inflammation. reduce the intensity of both hangovers and headaches

    Extremely low in calories, as they are nearly 96 percent water, ½ cup peeled 8 calories, 0.5 grams fiber, 0.4 grams protein

    Kale: helps fight anemia, promotes healthy vision & retinal function, fights formation of cancer cells, inflammatory-related problems, lowers cholesterol, antioxidant.

    1 cup raw 34 calories, 1.3 grams fiber, 2.2 grams protein

    Peppers, Bell: (Red contain higher levels of nutrients)  helps prevent blood clot formation, protects against cataracts, reduce risk of heart attacks & strokes, supports immune & digestive systems, prevent certain cancers & high in potassium

    ½ cup raw 23 calories, 1.6 grams fiber, 0.75 grams protein

    Spinach: helps improve red blood cell function, strengthen bones, regulate heart rate & blood pressure & combats free radicals. 1 cup raw 7 calories, 0.7 grams fiber, 1 gram protein

    Swiss Chard: helps control heart rate & blood pressure, control sugar levels, boosts immunity, fights anemia, & maintain connective tissue. 1 cup raw 7 calories, 0.6 gram fiber, 0.6 gram protein

    Tomato cherry  Tomatoes:  helps boost your immune system, lowers risk of cancer, heart disease, osteoporosis, cognitive dysfunction, macular degeneration, asthma & other lung disorders, control sugar levels, protects prostate

    ½ cup raw 16 calories, 1.1 gram fiber, 0.8 gram protein

    ½ cup cooked 22 calories, 0.8 gram fiber, 1.1 grams protein

    Zucchini: helps prevent cancers, lower cholesterol, reduce symptoms of enlarged prostrate gland, anti-inflammatory, prevention of heart attack, stroke, lowers blood pressure, promotes collagen formation for healthy skin & wound healing

    ½ cup raw 10 calories, 0.6 grams fiber, 0.7 grams protein



    Apples: a good source of fiber to help you feel full longer, helps to lower your LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol, better lung function, boosts your immune system and decrease the risk of diabetes. Apples have also been shown to up your acetylcholine production which may help with memory and lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s.

    1 medium raw 95 calories, 4.5 grams of fiber, 0.5 grams of protein

     black and raspberries

    Berries: bright & colorful berries pack with nutrients & great source of fiber. They help stabilize blood sugar, boosts memory, protect your heart, lower cholesterol, boosts immunity, combat cancer, fight free-radicals, promote bone health, prevent constipation & prevent age-related macular degeneration

    Figs: helps support proper pH levels in the body, making it more difficult for pathogens to invade, can lower insulin and blood-sugar levels, lowers cholesterol, combats cancer, control blood pressure, promotes weight loss & fights anemia.

    1 medium 37 calories, 1.5 grams fiber, 0.4 grams protein

    Nectarines: helps protect skin from damaging UV rays by counteracting free radical activity, boosts immune system, prevention of heart disease, cancer & macular degeneration

    1 medium 2 grams fiber & 62 calories

    Peaches: helps maintain nervous system, lowers cholesterol, improve immune system, regulates bowel movements, improve eye health & is a powerful diuretic

    1 medium 2 grams fiber & 59 calories


    Pears: another great source of fiber with the benefits of lowering cholesterol, reducing the risk of diabetics and inflammation, reduce risk of macular degeneration, and offers constipation relief. Pear are considered a Hypo-allergenic food item, meaning they are not likely to result in allergy symptoms.

    1 medium raw 103 calories, 5.5 grams fiber, 0.7 grams protein

    Pineapple: helps aid in digestion, reduce gas, strengthen bones,  produce collagen to keep your skin looking firm, all-body anti-inflammation benefits, also protects against colon cancer, arthritis, and macular degeneration
    1 cup raw 83 calories, 2.3 grams fiber, 1 gram protein

    There are many more produce foods, all offering great health benefits.  The best way to get the most of the benefits is to eat a variety. I try to eat more veggies than fruits because the sugar in the fruit, even though it is natural, are more calories.

    Get creative and add some herbs and spices or essential oils to boost the flavor and health benefits. Get some ideas from these posts:

    Spices for your Food

    Health Benefits of Herbs

    Leave a comment below on what your favorites are. How do you like to eat them? Have a recipe to share? Here is my Veggie Bread using up leftovers.Bread_Surplus Veggies


    Wishing you warm and colorful days, Kathy

    October 9, 2014 • Healthy Hints • Views: 1841