I’ve never been a fan of cooking — especially making meals with all these fancy spices and shit. My kitchen skills typically consist of adding salt and pepper to grilled chicken, and tossing it together with some kale. Voila.
But lately, I’ve been really into the magical health benefits of super spices (If you haven’t seen my post about Golden Milk check it out here). Especially this during crazy winter-spring-summer when my body has felt uber confused, I’ve been upping my intake of these flu-fighting, mentally calming super spices.
Trust me — if I, the kitchen novice, could figure it out you’ll have to give it a try. Here’s my list of the top spices I’ve accumulated, and incorporated into my diet.
- The What: We’ve all at least heard of ginger (think: the little white strips next to your sushi). It tastes like a combination of spicy, sweet and tangy. You can use fresh ginger (just peel off the skin) or ground up.
- The Why: Ginger is known to have stomach soothing and pain relieving powers (so, for hangovers and after the gym). It also has some anti-inflammatory and cancer-reducing effects.
- The How: You can add Ginger to teas (+ turmeric is perfect), salads, or even Asian-style seasoning for meats and chicken.
- The What: My new favorite super-charged additional to anything (literally). It doesn’t taste like much, but stains your hands/cutting board/anything bright yellow so watch out.
- The Why: Turmeric is known for having anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and cancer-reducing magical powers. Besides helping out with the average cold or flu, Curcumin, the active ingredient in Turmeric, is also known to provide other major health benefits like reducing the risk of arthritis (inflammation), heart disease (inflammation) and helps with aging (antioxidant).
- The How: I’ve been adding Turmeric to my teas, soups, and even mixing it into grains like rice or quinoa. Turmeric is best absorbed with a pinch of pepper, or fats (like coconut oil) so try to have these together.
- The What: Cardamom is both sweet and savory at the same time — and super aromatic (*fancy*). It reminds me of cinnamon — think of it as one of the main ingredients in Van Leeuween icecreams, or chai lattes.
- The Why: Cardamom is the “Queen of Spices” — and is known for it’s powers to relieve UTIs, and limp you-know-whats. It’s also really good for detoxing, increasing blood circulation, and healthy-looking skin. This list could go on and on, but like other super spices, it infection-fighting and cancer-reducing powers.
- The How: Again, Cardamom is used heavily in tea (see a theme here?). Interestingly though, you can add the Cardamom pods to your coffee for a cool flavor. It’s also often added to desserts (cookies, cake, hot chocolate), and a good combo with rose, pistachios or vanilla.
- The What: Cumin comes in dried or roasted seed form, and tastes like a peppery-lemon combination. It’s definitely better used for savory, dinner type foods.
- The Why: Cumin is your digestive, metabolism-busting best friend. It also has tons of vitamins and minerals, like iron, which is great for memory. It has has the powers of Vitamin-E, which is great for glowing skin.
- The How: You can add cumin to dips like guac or hummus, or sprinkle on top of veggies like sweet potatoes, cauliflower or squash.