The Health Benefits of Spices and Herbs
Eating healthy to balance our hormones and promote weight loss doesn’t have to be boring, despite what you may think. It’s amazing what the addition of herbs and spices can do to pump up the flavor of a meal and make it more interesting. In addition to flavor, many herbs have excellent health benefits. You can find a full list of acceptable condiments, spices and herbs in chapter 13 of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hormone Weight Loss, but I have outlined a few, along with their health benefits, for you below.
Cinnamon – known to help stabilize blood sugar and reduce insulin resistance
Turmeric and Garlic – both are wonderful anti-inflammatory agents
Parsley – inhibits tumor formation; is a good source of folic acid and B vitamins, which promote heart health and it has rich sources of antioxidants including flavanoids, Vitamin C, and beta-carotene
Oregano – the oils in this spice are an effective anti-bacterial agent, it contains numerous phytonutrients that function as potent antioxidants, and is a very good source of fiber.
Fennel – provides antioxidant protection and immune support from Vitamin C; the fennel bulb is a good source of fiber, which may help to reduce elevated cholesterol levels and prevent colon cancer and its good source of folate and potassium have additional benefits for heart health
Cayenne Pepper – the high concentration of capsaicin has been studied for its pain-reducing effects, its cardiovascular benefits and its ability to help prevent ulcers.
Ginger – has multiple health benefits including gastrointestinal relief, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and relief of nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
Lavender – essential oils from this herb are extracted for its medicinal purposes. Add lavender essential oil to your moisturizer or a spray water bottle to relieve chaffed, irritated or burned skin. Lavender has natural antiseptic properties so use lavender oil instead of harsh rubbing alcohol to treat cuts and scrapes.
On the other hand, condiments you should avoid include:
- Barbecue sauce with high fructose corn syrup
- Fat-free salad dressings with partially hydrogenated oil
- Ketchup with high fructose corn syrup