When the frost is on the pumpkin—that’s the time for chili, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, and turmeric.
Is it a coincidence that these warming seasonal spices give us extra oomph at a time when we need it most? When the days are short and cold, we spend less time outside, so we are deficient in the nutrients and joy we’d get from the sun. More time in rooms with closed windows means more time for germs to make their mark.
Adding a few of these spices to meals will keep you in fighting shape for frightful weather.
Chili peppers contain capsaicin, a hot spice known to inhibit Substance P, which contributes to inflammation. It’s been used topically to treat pain, but internally, it helps reduce bad cholesterol and stop free-radical damage. A healthy dose can clear your sinuses and fight infections. Best of all, chili and cayenne peppers significantly raise the thermic effect of food, causing you to burn more calories after eating foods containing these potent spices.
The anti-inflammatory properties of cinnamon can alleviate joint and muscle pain. Cinnamon can lower blood sugar, improve circulation, and relieve stomachaches! It’s said to prevent everything from tooth decay to urinary tract infections.
Whether it’s a cure-all or not, cinnamon is delicious, and it’s easy to add meals, even Oatmeal and coffee drinks. Try a half a teaspoon each day.
Garlic is the antidote to so many evils: it’s antifungal, antimicrobial, antiviral, and antiprotozoal. Best of all, it makes colds cry uncle!
Stuff peeled cloves between a whole chicken and its skin before baking, and eat the roasted cloves. Mince and sauté them with onions for soups, stews, and chili.
This ancient Chinese secret is out! Ginger is one of our greatest anti-inflammatory spices, reducing the pain of arthritis and easing asthma symptoms. It also provides legendary relief of nausea related to pregnancy, motion sickness, and alcohol over-indulgence, and it is even said to relieve migraines and vertigo. You can brush your teeth and gargle with it, too, to inhibit bacteria and ease sore throats.
Make a ginger tea with lemon and honey. Sauté fresh ginger with vegetables and soy sauce for a super-fast, therapeutic, and delicious stir fry, or add sliced ginger to chicken and beef.
Responsible for the yellow—and the good health—in curry powder, turmeric is said to reduce inflammation and protect against cancer, and it can heal stomach ulcers and tame free radicals!
Shake this spice into soups and stews for a rich flavor.