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SPICES FOR HEALTH

by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | December 8th, 2019

SPICES FOR HEALTH

About 10 years ago, one of my friends who studied ‘Food Science” suggested that I start talking to my patients about turmeric.

“Turmer who?” I answered.

“Turmeric” she replied. “It is really good for your health”.

She was onto something. Researchers around the world are showing a tremendous interest in turmeric because of its strong anti-inflammatory properties.

Although turmeric has been around for over 2500 years, I did not start incorporating it in my diet until my friend mentioned it 10 years ago. There are other spices that are great for our health. If you are not used to cooking with different spices, it is time to get out of your comfort zone. You do not have to be a special chef to use spices. You just have to do it. If you are concerned about the cost, you can go to some of the international grocery stores in your region and they often sell it in packages which can be cheaper than buying it in a regular grocery store.

Here are some of my favorites:

TUMERIC

It is the main spice in curry. Turmeric contains a substance called curcumin which is known as a powerful antioxidant. Turmeric has a special affinity for reducing inflammation in the body especially the GI system.  Curcumin has been shown to help treat a range of health problems, from minor toothaches to chronic conditions like arthritis, heart disease and diabetes. It has been effective in treating upset stomach.  Its main therapeutic use has been in inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis. The best way to absorb turmeric is to use it with black pepper in your dishes.

CINNAMON

You particularly want cassia cinnamon which is known to lower blood sugar in people with diabetes.  Cinnamon also has been shown to reduce inflammation and have antioxidant effects. As I have mentioned in past blogs, cinnamon contains a small amount of coumarin that may affect the liver if taken in large amounts over a long period of time. To minimize the amount of coumarin, you want to make sure that you use Ceylon cinnamon.

GINGER

Ginger is used for motion sickness, morning sickness, nausea and vomiting, inflammation and coughs and colds. It is particularly helpful to pregnant women. It turns down the sensation of nausea and helps digestion moves faster so that food does not sit in the stomach.

GARLIC

Garlic is known to help with diarrhea, coughs and colds and heart health. It has been shown to lower blood pressure as well. Several studies are showing that garlic may help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Once you have used fresh garlic in your food, you will find it hard to use garlic powder.  

CAYENNE PEPPER

Cayenne pepper helps tame your appetite and boost metabolism which is good for weight loss. Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin which is responsible for helping to burn the calories and stimulates the brain chemicals to tame hunger. The hotter the pepper, the greater the amount of capsaicin. Peppers are rich in vitamin A, which may preserve eyesight and fight infections. Peppers have also been helpful in arthritis and nerve pain. Try incorporating these spices into your current recipes. Not only will they give an extra kick to your recipe, but you will know that there will provide health be

2 Responses to “SPICES FOR HEALTH”

  1. Angela says:

    Love this article!!! And the spices, garlic and ginger you mentioned are staples in my cupboard! Using them fresh makes more of an impact! Let’s connect soon!

    • Ngozi Osuagwu, MD says:

      You were the inspiration behind this blog. Thanks for spreading the word about how food can make a difference. Looking forward to connecting soon.

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The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.




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