You have probably heard of super foods, but have you ever heard of super spices? Super spices such as cinnamon, tumeric and cayenne are full of nutrients to help boost the body and even encourage weight loss.
Cinnamon is an easy everyday spice that has shown to have positive effects on insulin to help the battle of the bulge. According to WebMD, some research has shown that cinnamon may lower blood sugar by decreasing insulin resistance. In one study, volunteers ate from 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon for 40 days. (One gram of ground cinnamon is about half a teaspoon.) In this study, researchers found that cinnamon reduced cholesterol by about 18 percent and blood sugar levels by 24 percent.
Try making cinnamon and honey toast or sprinkle some cinnamon on your morning oatmeal.
Please note: If you are diabetic please do not try to treat yourself with cinnamon. This is information for those non-diabetic folks who are looking to help their blood sugar. As always, consult your doctor or health care provider!
Spicy peppers like cayenne contain dihydrocapsiate, a compound that has shown to increase our capacity to burn fat. Multiple studies, including one written about in Cell Metabolism show that another ingredient in chili peppers–capsaicin–also helps to lower blood pressure.
However, as beneficial as this spice can be, it can be a challenge to find ways to utilize it. One simple way is to incorporate cayenne into a spicy trail mix. Simply take a handful of mixed nuts, a handful of pretzels, a handful of sesame sticks and a handful of dried plantains or bananas and mix them in a bowl. Then, melt 3 tablespoons of butter and add a tablespoon of cayenne, a teaspoon of paprika and a dash a soy sauce or teriyaki sauce to your butter and stir it into your trail mix to coat. Next, spread your trail mix onto a baking sheet and lightly salt if needed. Then, roast it in your oven for about 20 minutes and add raisins to finish it and you have a fabulous spicy trail mix to eat whenever you want a healthy snack.
Super six – Tumeric, Cumin, Ginger, Coriander, Cardamom, Mustard Seed
The“super six” spices are wonderful to eat together because their flavor profiles complement each other. Each of these super spices boasts a variety of benefits.
- Tumeric is known to help with inflammation
- Cumin is helpful in fighting belly fat and helping overall metabolism
- Ginger helps to reduce appetite and cravings
- Coriander help to increase metabolism
- Cardamom helps to lower blood glucose and fight bad cholesterol
- Mustard Seed has a thermogenic effect, which encourages the body to burn more fat
One of the best recipes to utilize to incorporate all of these fabulous spices is to make some Khichdi. If you haven’t heard of Khichdi before, it is considered the “chicken soup of India” and is known for its healing benefits, which fall in line with Ayurveda techniques.
- 1 cup Green Mung Beans (look for these in the bulk aisle)
- 1 cup brown Basmati Rice
- 1/2 cup yellow lentils
- 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil
- 1 Clove Minced Garlic
- 1 Tbsp Tumeric
- 1 Tbsp Cumin
- 1 Tsp Mustard Seeds
- 1 Tsp Coriander
- 1 Tsp Cardamon
- 1 Tsp Ground Cloves
- 1 Tsp Minced Ginger
Cilantro, Avocado Slices and One Sectioned Lime or Lemon
1. Clean and wash rice, green mung beans and lentils and soak in water together for two hours.
2. Drain and set aside.
3. Heat the coconut oil in a pan and add the minced garlic. Heat until fragrant.
4. Add rice and beans and saute in the pan for a few minutes, stirring frequently.
5. Add mixture to a pressure cooker or deep pan with 4 cups of water.
6. Add remaining spices (except ginger) and bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and cover with lid.
7. Cook for about 20 minutes or until rice is fluffy.
8. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve hot with fresh ginger, fresh cilantro, avocado and lime or lemon juice.
Optional: Add veggies to your rice when it is cooking like carrots or squash. Delish!
Elizabeth Chatellier, MA, RDN