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View All Posts - Diet - Nutrition

The 9 Best Spices for Weight Loss and Health

While spices and herbs are great to help season and flavor our foods, did you know they also offer several health benefits? For centuries, we've used spices for their medicinal and healing properties. Including some that can directly support your healthy weight loss journey! 

Take a look below at some of the best spices that may give your health and weight loss a major boost. And when you’re ready to reap the benefits of some of these amazing spices make sure to grab our brand new and delicious Ginger-Cayenne Lemonade Mix! Featuring several of the spices listed below:

1) Ginger

Ginger is a spicy root that dates back to over 3000 years ago. You may already know ginger for its ability to ease an upset stomach, but this zesty spice has also been used throughout history for many other health concerns including helping with the common cold.

Ginger root is high in antioxidants as well as certain chemical compounds that protect your body from germs and bad bacteria. Although high in antioxidants, ginger doesn’t contain many vitamins or minerals. However, this doesn’t stop the root from having great potential health benefits for your immunity and heart health. 

Plus research supports this spice’s reputation for helping reduce nausea and vomiting. Especially helpful for those going through chemotherapy or during pregnancy!

Pair it with: Grated ginger is delicious in smoothies, teas, marinades, and salad dressings.

2) Cayenne

Known for packing a punch to spicy dishes, cayenne pepper is another popular pantry staple. This hot spice is grown in many places around the world including India, East Africa, Mexico, and parts of the United States. 

Capsaicin, the active ingredient that gives peppers their heat, has anti-inflammatory properties that can support heart health, digestion, and a healthy immune system. It has also been used topically to help relieve muscle aches and pain.

Cayenne pepper also contains powerful antioxidants including vitamins A, C, E, beta-carotene, lutein, and cryptoxanthin. Not to mention it also has several important vitamins and minerals such as vitamins B6, B2, and folate; and minerals iron, zinc, manganese, and more.

Thanks to its spicy quality, cayenne pepper also builds heat in the body which could help speed up your metabolism and burn more calories throughout the day. In one study, they found that adding cayenne pepper to a meal increased feelings of satiation for study participants, resulting in more energy and fewer fat and sugar cravings. 

Pair it with: Cayenne pepper is a frequent spice used in Cajun, Creole, and Mexican dishes. Add a little bit to your meat, fish, rice, beans, curry, or eggs if you love a little heat! You can also add this spice to a marinade, lemonade beverage, or salad dressing to give it an extra kick of flavor. 

3) Cinnamon 

cinnamon sticks on grey background

This warm spice is native to the Caribbean, South America, and Southeast Asia. It’s been used throughout history as both a medicinal herb for respiratory and digestive problems and as a perfume. Phytochemicals such as cinnamaldehyde give cinnamon its sweet scent and flavor, as well as its potential health benefits.

Early research suggests that cinnamon’s antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties could help support your body’s fight against infections, reduce your risk for certain diseases, and support your immunity and brain health. While we need more research to prove these health benefits, sprinkling a little on your coffee or shake could hold a lot of potential beyond its sweet taste. 

Pair it with: Aside from being a usual ingredient in baking or your morning oatmeal, cinnamon tastes delicious in your morning shake, a cup of coffee, or even in some rubs and marinades for meat.

4) Cumin

Cumin is a potent but versatile pantry spice used frequently in Latin American, Hispanic, African, and Indian cuisines. It’s been used as a culinary and medicinal spice for centuries, especially throughout India, where this spice is grown. It’s been used throughout history to help treat conditions such as kidney and bladder stones, eye disease, indigestion, diarrhea, and more. 

Today, there is some research to suggest that, like cinnamon, this spice’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, such as flavonoids, alkaloids, and phenols, could help keep your health in optimal shape. Not only that but cumin seeds are also a great source of iron, manganese, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, C, E, K, vitamin B6, and more. Some small human studies even reveal that this spice could also potentially aid in healthy weight loss. Making this the perfect spice for your next meal!

Pair it with: This spice works well when used in conjunction with other flavors. It’s a key ingredient in taco seasoning, makes a great rub on pork, beef, or chicken, and can add great flavor to curries, soups, or just a simple rice and bean dish. Keep in mind that cumin is incredibly potent so you don’t need much to get that needed flavor!

5) Black Cumin Seed Oil

Although both black cumin seed and cumin originate from the same genus of plants, black cumin seed has a noticeably stronger and more bitter taste, making it less popular in American cuisine. However, this doesn’t stop this spice from containing some pretty powerful potential health benefits. 

Also known by the names nigella, black cumin, fennel flower, black caraway, and Roman coriander, this spice has long been used for its medicinal properties across southern and eastern Europe, the Middle East, and southwest Asia. This is largely thanks to the black seed’s active antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds including thymoquinone. 

These potential health benefits include helping to reduce inflammation, supporting healthy digestion, and potentially reducing your risk for various heart health concerns. Black seed is also a good source of protein, fiber, and several vitamins and minerals including calcium, iron, zinc, folic acid, and phosphorus. 

Pair it with: This spice can be used in similar dishes to its genus cousin cumin and holds a similar flavor to it as well as oregano or black pepper. However, due to its strong taste opt to only use a little bit of this spice or mix it in with honey or lemon juice. The oil can also make a great addition to salad dressings or added sparingly to teas, smoothies, and coffee.

6) Black Pepper

Raw, natural, unprocessed black pepper peppercorns in mortar

You might not even realize that one of the most commonly found pantry staples packs some pretty powerful potential health benefits! Black pepper has been shown to soothe an upset stomach and support digestion, with evidence that it could also potentially help you feel more full after a meal by enhancing the absorption of some pretty key nutrients. 

This is largely thanks to piperine, the main active ingredient in black pepper, which can help absorb antioxidant nutrients like curcumin and resveratrol. Curcumin is a strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant found in another spice on this list, turmeric. And resveratrol may help support your brain and heart health. 

Both curcumin and resveratrol are tough to absorb on their own, so black pepper in your diet can help aid in their absorption, unlocking their potential key health benefits. Even more of a reason to sprinkle on the black pepper!

Pair it with: Anything! It tastes especially great when freshly ground on top of grilled meats and fresh salads.

 7) Mustard Seeds

mustard dip and mustard seeds

 

Mustard seeds are another great spice to incorporate into your diet. These seeds come from the mustard plant and are distant plant cousins to broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage. This spice can be traced back to about 5,000 years ago in ancient Sanskrit writings and is also mentioned in the New Testament. 

Its long history is thanks to its numerous potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits. Mustard seeds are also a great source of phytonutrients called glucosinolates (which gives mustard its familiar flavor!) as well as omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, manganese, phosphorous, copper, and zinc. This combination makes them a must-have for helping to support your overall health. 

It’s also a key ingredient in the popular mustard condiment. However, regular mustard sauces tend to be overly processed with added sugars, so check the nutrition label of your mustard to ensure it doesn't have too many unnecessary additives. 

Pair it with: Mustard and mustard seed taste great on sandwiches, in salad dressings, and marinades.

8) Turmeric

grounded turmeric

Turmeric is a vibrant, yellow spice and medicinal herb used in India for thousands of years. Turmeric's active ingredient, curcumin, is known for its antioxidants and powerful anti-inflammatory properties that may support heart health, radiant skin, and more

Chronic inflammation plays a role in most chronic diseases. This makes turmeric a helpful spice for potentially preventing and supporting their treatment. 

Turmeric could also help support your immune system by increasing several types of gut bacterial species that are helpful for your body. This makes turmeric a triple threat as a helpful adaptogen, a powerful antioxidant, and a prebiotic for the gut. 
Pair it with: Turmeric is the base of many Indian curries, and is also great in meat marinades!

9) Cardamom

Like cinnamon, cardamom has a floral and sweet taste that is incredibly versatile. Full of antioxidants, cardamom is a powerful spice that may help combat free radicals and reduce inflammation in the body. This could help protect you against elevated cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and certain digestive issues

Its anti-inflammatory properties could also help support healthy weight loss. One study on rats found that those consuming cardamom powder experienced greater weight loss and lower cholesterol levels. Another study on overweight or obese women found that those who took cardamom had lower inflammatory proteins, which could help decrease the risk for certain health concerns. 

This spice also contains small amounts of fiber and key fatty acids, as well as several vitamins and minerals such as potassium, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. That’s why it’s called the queen of spice! And if you don’t have this one as a regular in your pantry already, it’s time to add this incredible spice into your rotation. 

Pair it with: Cardamom’s sweet and savory flavor makes it incredibly versatile. It’s a popular addition to Indian cuisine and other more spicy dishes but you can also use cardamom in baking recipes or sprinkle in your tea, coffee, or shakes.

 

Brand New: 310 Ginger-Cayenne Lemonade Mix

Take advantage of some of these amazing spices by enjoying our brand new Ginger Cayenne Lemonade mix — perfect for a delicious and healthy treat to finish off the summer! And make sure to check out nutritionist-approved recipes here for more healthy weight loss ideas. 

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Written by:

Megan Elizabeth Clark

310 Nutrition Content Writer 

Megan Elizabeth Clark is a freelance copywriter and content marketing specialist in the health, wellness, and fitness industry. As a NASM certified personal trainer and RYT-200 certified yoga instructor Megan is passionate about using her fitness background and writing skills to provide authentic, actionable, and accurate information to the world [...]