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Although the rich, warming spices that make up a Gingerbread Loaf are usually used for their flavor more than their health benefits, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and cardamom have empirically-studied healing capabilities. These powerful spices will actually make you healthier, while helping your holiday dishes and drinks taste more delicious. If you want to learn more about 5 common yummy holiday spices that will help boost your health, keep reading!
Cinnamon is one of the most recognizable and widely used spices, especially during the holidays. Whether you use it as a base flavor in your homemade cinnamon rolls or you use it to add some extra flavor to your gingerbread latte, you're also getting some bonus killer health benefits.
Cinnamon has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine, treating a vast array of ailments. Cinnamon has been "put to the test" in many current day scientific studies and has been shown to help protect against conditions like heart disease, diabetes and even neurogenerative diseases. Cinnamon is jam packed with powerful antioxidants, including polyphenols that help fight oxidative damage and reduce inflammation.
This holiday season, don't hold back with the cinnamon! Try adding it to your baking, cooking and your teas.
Nothing is better than the smell of something super ginger-y baking in the oven on a cold, Winter day. The warming, cozy spice is used during holiday baking for its delicious flavor, but it might having an added benefit of helping your digestion.
Ginger and ginger extract has been shown to help improve a number of gastrointestinal issues, including digestion, nausea, bloating, gas and an overall stomach health. The amazing meals with family during the holiday season can also come with an upset tummy, so incorporating ginger might help you feel better!
I absolutely love ginger...I want it in everything! But my favorite way to use it right now is in this Holiday Sparkling Apple-Ginger Mocktail. If you're interested in learning more about the health benefits of ginger and want to know what to combine it with, check out our post on Ginger Tea Combos that will keep you healthy all year-round.
Nutmeg has a warm, slightly nutty flavor often used in baked goods, curries and chai tea. The yummy spice has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, and might even help to improve sleep and boost libido.
Please note that Nutmeg has been shown to be toxic when taken in large amounts. This can be very dangerous, especially taken with other drugs. So, eat and drink your nutmeg, but stick to a pinch here and a pinch there.
Enjoy nutmeg in this yummy tea: Pumpkin Spice Chai
This versatile holiday spice can be used to add dimension to hot teas and lattes, to season pot roasts or to bring a spicy warmth to baked goods. Cloves are sweet and aromatic, but also have some incredible health benefits.
Here's a fun fact: cloves are the most antioxidant-packed common spice. They have a very strong flavor, so even just a tiny pinch to stewed pears and apples or to your gingerbread latte will do the trick.
We don't recommend eating tons of sugary baked goods, but if you do choose to bake this holiday season, cut out some of the sugar and add a pinch of cloves. Cloves have been shown to help regulate blood sugar in individuals by increasing the secretion of insulin and improving the function of the cells that produce insulin.
Cardamom has an intense flavor that has a slightly sweet note that some compare to mint. It is used in sweet and savory recipes (from Cardamom Ginger Rose Milk Tea to Indian Roasted Cauliflower). Cardamom is a precious spice that is both refreshing and awakening. It’s related to both ginger and turmeric, and provides similar benefits to digestion. Cardamom has also been shown to protect the liver, reduce anxiety and promote healthy blood sugar levels.
Thanks so much for reading! I hope you have an amazing holiday season full of laughs, memories and delicious chai. If you liked this blog, check out 10 Hacks To Keep Your Gut Healthy This Holiday Season.