In the past few months, most of us have been super strict about proper sanitation and cleanliness. We’ve all worn face masks, carried gloves, whipped out the hand sanitizer hourly, and remained socially distanced. While these measures have helped curb COVID numbers around the globe in most places, the pandemic — and the newly-ignited attention to immunity and health — is far from behind us. The pandemic has woken us up to the undeniable truth that we aren’t “untouchable,” and the best thing we can do for our longterm wellness and resilience (you know, besides sticking to the masks and sanitizer) is nurture our bodies and build stronger immune systems to live healthy, long lives. Luckily, a stronger immune system is something you can build with just a little know-how in the kitchen. Get to know these five immunity-boosting spices and see how you can include them in your favorite dishes or new recipes to boost your wellness!
Garlic is an A-lister in the category of immune-boosting spices. It tops the charts with its ability to heal common colds, increase antioxidant enzymes, and reduce oxidative stress in people with high blood pressure. Utilized in a variety of cooking cultures —e.g., Greek, Chinese, Egyptian, Italian, and more — garlic’s unique health benefits and delicious flavors make it the perfect addition to any dish. If consumed in high dosages, this punchy spice can even help protect the body from heavy metal toxicity. With all of its healthful benefits, garlic is a true show-stopper in the kitchen, so it’s probably time to give it the spotlight it deserves!
For over 4500 years, we’ve exploited the healing powers of turmeric in countless ways. This powerful spice was initially used in ancient Asian cuisine to add a sweet and spicy tang, a strong peppery aroma, and a famously bright yellow coloration to every dish it compliments. Turmeric is now also used beyond the kitchen, in skincare products, Ayurvedic medicine, and natural healing processes across the globe. So, what does it do exactly? Due to powerful active ingredients (including curcumin), turmeric features anti-inflammatory properties which compare to the ones of our modern time fix: ibuprofen. Turmeric boosts the body’s antioxidants by killing free radicals. Not only that, it trumps fungal growth and tumorous cell multiplication. It’s healthy, effective, and adds a beautiful pop of color to every meal — what’s not to love?
Often used in smoothies, immune-boosting shots, and other wellness beverages, ginger root is the trendiest produce in the natural health-care industry. Filled with sesquiterpenes, ginger helps fight off cold viruses and prevents nausea. It also inhibits a wide variety of cancers, controls aging, treats infectious diseases, and aids digestion. That’s all thanks to its high potency in anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. Doctors often recommend the consumption of ginger to help treat degenerative disorders, and cardiovascular disease. Ginger truly is a jack of all trades! So store in your pantry — you wouldn’t want to miss out on all of its numerous health benefits!
As a member of the chili peppers family, cayenne is the spice of all spices. Unlike its predecessors, cayenne is sure to give any dish a powerful kick (when we say it’s picante, we mean it). Unsurprisingly, it contributes to digestive health by clearing out gastrointestinal pathogens, ulcerations, and cancers. Cayenne is also used as anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidizing and flu-repelling ingredient in a variety of herbal medicines.
This beautiful caramel-colored spice is found in all of our favorite unhealthy treats, like a tasty cinnamon bun and or a bowl of delicious Cinnamon Toast Crunch. But unlike what it seems, cinnamon is a spice full of nutritional health benefits. It helps reduce wound inflammation by healing damaged tissues and successfully wards off infections. Additionally, it contains polyphenol, a plant-given macronutrient that helps with digestion issues, weight management, and even diabetes. Cinnamon is the perfect immune-booster for those of us who prefer sweet treats over savory meals — you can even throw a little cinnamon in your coffee to sweeten it up instead of using sugar.