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Natural Awakenings Rhode Island

Spice It Up: 10 Super Spices for Superior Health

Aug 27, 2020 10:36AM ● By Chrysanthi Kazantzis

These powerful spices are antioxidant powerhouses that help reduce inflammation, manage blood sugar, decrease risk for cancer and heart disease, balance blood sugar and boost metabolism.

Every time we flavor our meals with herbs and spices, we supercharge the healing and nourishing properties of our food without adding any calories. Not only do we enhance the flavor, we enhance our health.

Here are 10 super spices to cook with daily:


This spice has one of the highest antioxidant levels and is effective in stabilizing blood sugar. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine showed that using 2 teaspoons per day reduced blood sugar by 20 to 30 percent in people with Type 2 diabetes. It also is an anti-inflammatory which decreases pain and stiffness in muscles and joints. There is also research on improving memory and attention. Smelling cinnamon essential oil can have a positive effect on brain function. We can add cinnamon to smoothies, oatmeal, berries or in coffee or tea.



In addition to heating up meals, cayenne heats up the body by raising metabolism and burning fat faster. It has been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. It is also helpful for improving circulation and is a warming spice that should be used in the winter. It is an effective anti-inflammatory and decreases pain in muscles and joints associated with arthritis. One to 2 teaspoons can be added to soups, chili, meatloaf and even water in the morning with lemon.



This is an effective anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory herb that kills harmful bacteria caused from food poisoning including listeria, staphylococcus and E. coli. It is a high source of calcium, magnesium and vitamin K which is important for bone support. It is also helpful for arthritis and inflammatory bowel conditions. Basil can be used both fresh and dried in cooking.



Ginger contains more than 25 antioxidants which can fight free radicals. It is well known to decrease nausea, vomiting, morning sickness and motion sickness. It can be used to make tea to reduce these symptoms and is safe in pregnancy. A study published in the Journal of The Medical Association of Thailand showed that 1 gram of ginger before surgery decreased post-surgical nausea and vomiting. It is also an antiviral and can help with coughs, sore throats and colds. When sick, add two to three slices of ginger with 1 teaspoon of raw honey and lemon to decrease severity of symptoms. It is also a potent anti-inflammatory that can help decrease arthritic pain and muscle aches.



Cloves are a potent antiseptic herb that can fight infections, decrease arthritic pain and decrease digestive complaints. It is well-known for tooth and gum pain. Two to three cloves can be chewed to help relieve dental pain. It is effective in killing bacteria and using clove oil topically can decrease infections in scrapes, cuts, rashes, bug bites and burns. It is also helpful for digestive complaints such as indigestion, gas and vomiting.



This is effective for infections associated with sore throats, laryngitis, bronchitis and asthma. It is also helpful in reducing colic and gastritis, improving memory and decreasing free radicals.



Cumin is helpful for digestion. It stimulates enzyme and bile secretion from the pancreas and gallbladder to break down foods and absorb nutrients. Similar to cinnamon, it stabilizes blood sugar and is great for regulating insulin. It is also helpful for the immune system as it is a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C and iron.



This is the most potent anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial herb. Oil of oregano has been used to treat various bacterial and viral infections as well as fungal and parasitic infections. When the herb is consumed daily, it can provide the same benefits as the potent oil. It also decreases inflammation by decreasing aches, pains and allergies.



Rosemary is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It has been used for thousands of years to increase memory, concentration and uplift moods. It also stimulates the immune system and digestion. Smelling the essential oil while studying for an exam or preparing for a meeting can enhance memory. It is also useful for respiratory problems and chest congestion, and it is protective against carcinogenic toxins and prevents against various cancers. When grilling meats and vegetables, marinate foods with rosemary to reduce HCA’s (heterocyclic amines) which are carcinogenic compounds that can form when meats are grilled.



Turmeric is the number one anti-inflammatory. The bright yellow-orange pigment is from the main active ingredient, curcumin, which is an anti-inflammatory and comparable to Advil and Motrin without the negative side effects. It is effective in decreasing inflammation in the brain and is helpful for memory, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It is also beneficial for digestive conditions such as Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel disease. It is useful for decreasing inflammation in joints and is beneficial for arthritic pains. It is one of the most potent anti-cancer spices that helps decrease free radicals. Using black pepper with turmeric helps increase the absorption in the body.

Spice up your life a bit and enjoy all these super health benefits.


Chrysanthi Kazantzis “Dr. Kaz” is a naturopathic physician and a clinical nutritionist. She is the president of RIANP and practices at Providence Wholistic Healthcare where she is accepting new patients via telemedicine.

 For more information, or to make an appointment call 401-455-0546 or visit