On average, Americans are consuming too much salt, but that's our “go-to” spice.
There are ways to trade sodium for other spices that have a lot more benefits and give more flavor,
“Utilizing your herbs and spices are a great way to reduce the amount of salt that you're actually using and still get good-tasting food,” said Baylor College of Medicine Dietician, Kristi King.
For example, garlic. Next time your recipe calls for salt and pepper, replace the salt with garlic powder.
The benefits of garlic go further than reducing sodium. Garlic has B vitamins, which increase energy and could help prevent heart disease.
King said a lot of spices have medicinal powers! Spices can be natural anti-inflammatories, help reduce the risk of heart disease, help manage blood glucose levels and maybe ward off dementia.
Rosemary can boost immunity and help improve memory.
Turmeric is also good for your brain and is an anti-inflammatory.
“It also helps with decreasing our risk of heart disease,” King said about turmeric. “It pairs really well with broccoli and cauliflower.”
Thyme can improve mood and reduce blood pressure.
Both ginger and cumin can help with digestion (think ginger ale when you get sick). Plus cumin is loaded with iron.
“Which is great for people that may be having anemia,” King said. “You can also put cumin on popcorn so it gives it a nutty flavor.”
Cinnamon is another anti-inflammatory and helps with blood pressure, blood sugar and boosts immunity.
“All of these herbs and spices have been used for hundreds of years so cinnamon has been a go-to to boost immunity for quite some time. So, I think that's why lot of people tend to use it in the fall and it pairs well with those fall type vegetables and fruits like apples and pears and squashes and sweet potatoes and those types of things that we tend to get a lot of in the fall,” King said.
Adding heat flavor to your dish might help you lose weight.
“For trying to lose weight, having spicy foods will help increase your metabolism,” King said. “They have a property called capsaicin which is what gives it that heat flavor and that's what increases metabolism.”