Six spices that improve heart health


Throughout the years, the statistics continue to show a rise of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.  Numerous studies are connecting our health with the food that we eat.  While the obesity rates have not fallen, Americans are consuming fewer calories and cutting back of processed foods and fast foods.  (1)

American’s are consuming fewer calories and cutting back on processed foods and fast foods!

A 2014 Gallup poll found that 45 percent of American’s are now seeking out organic foods.  Organic foods are free of chemical additives such as antibiotics, pesticides and herbicides.  While organic foods may cost more, American’s are beginning to see the importance of buying organic.  If you have made the transition to organic and desire to make continued changes that improve your health, consider your spice cabinet.

Forty-five percent of Americans are now purchasing organic foods!

Studies have shown the numerous health benefits associated with spices.  Increasing your spice intake could help improve your health, fight body fat, and protect against heart disease and cancer.

Six spices that can improve your heart health!

  1. Cayenne pepper:  Cayenne pepper has anti-inflammatory properties that are good for heart health.  The active ingredient, capsaicin, has been shown to improve cholesterol levels due to its ability to reduce buildup of cholesterol in the blood and increase elimination of unnecessary cholesterol from the body.  You can add 1/4 tsp. of organic cayenne pepper to tea, smoothies, juices or soups or simply add it to sautéed vegetables or potatoes to give them a kick.
  2. Garlic:  Organic garlic is know to have powerful medicinal benefits.  It has high concentrations of allicin that helps reduce cardiovascular risks and manage cholesterol and triglyceride levels.  Garlic has also been found to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and reduce blood pressure.  Some people choose to eat crushed garlic cloves daily, but if this is not appealing, try juicing garlic into your favorite juice recipe,  chopping it and adding it to your favorite summer salads and soups.
  3. Ginger:  Ginger is a aromatic and spicy herb that can be used in savory or sweet dishes.  A study found in the Journal of Nutrition showed that ginger extract reduces cholesterol levels in the blood and slows down the development of atherosclerosis.  Ginger has also been shown to help stabilized blood sugar by stimulating the pancreas cells and lowering lipids in the blood.  You can add fresh ginger to juices, smoothies, or salads.  Many people enjoy ginger with sushi and the spice is commonly found in Indian, Thai, Indonesian, and Japanese cuisines.
  4. Mint:  Mint is perfect herb for winter and summer.  One study found that peppermint extract was connected to improved cholesterol levels.  Mint tea is an excellent way to increase mint in your diet.  You can also add mint to your favorite beverage, salad or even dessert.
  5. Saffron:  Saffron is commonly found in Eastern cuisine.  Studies show that that it is helpful in managing cholesterol levels.  You can add saffron to rice, couscous, broths or soups.  If seeking recipes that incorporate more saffron, consider searching out Indian cuisine.
  6. Turmeric: Like cayenne pepper, turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties that have been shown to help fight breast cancer, colds, flu and even Alzheimers.  You can add 1/4 tsp. of turmeric to tea, smoothies or juices.  You can also add it to sautéed vegetables, soups, or make your own curry broth.

If these spices are new your your cabinet, consider focusing on them individually, learning new ways to incorporate them into your diet one at a time!

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Lynn Griffith
Lynn is a licensed therapist who enjoys cooking, creativity and enjoys helping other's learn how to care for their minds and bodies through healthy eating.  Lynn has wrote for The Raw Food World News and is currently in the process of building her own website focused on managing mental health through nutrition and wellness.