Spices of the Holiday Season

Cinnamon sticks, star anise and nuts on an old wooden table. New year and Christmas compositions. Selective focus

‘Tis the season to spice things up!  Spices are an important part of holiday cooking and fragrances that capture the essence of the holidays.  Here’s an added bonus:  spices also add nutrients and health benefits to your food.  As you are doing your cooking this season, you can feel good about adding holiday spices to your dishes and beverages.  Today we’re sharing some of the awesome spices of the holiday season and their incredible health benefits:

Sweet Spices of the Holiday Season

Cinnamon:  Ah, what sounds better than a stick of cinnamon in your hot cocoa or tea this holiday season?  Cinnamon can be found in many holiday dishes from baked goods to sweet potato soufflé.  It has antibacterial properties and helps stabilize blood sugar levels, plus it curbs indigestion and nausea.

Nutmeg:  Although less popular than its sister cinnamon, nutmeg is another sweet spice found in many holiday desserts.  It can also be used as a topping for beverages like egg nog or warm milk.  Nutmeg offers digestive relief and is an antifungal and antibacterial agent.  So while you are indulging this season, nutmeg is helping treat infections.

Ginger:  Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory, which supports the body in a variety of ways.  It is best known as a digestive aid to curb an upset stomach and nausea.  But it also calms swelling and irritation throughout the body, including joints and internal organs.  This fun root is a distinctive flavor of healthful holidays.

Peppermint:  The base ingredient of peppermint, mint, is a super healthy herb.  It can soothe the stomach and reduce gas and bloating after holiday meals and it has a ton of antioxidants.  Additionally, mint calms the body and helps relieve headaches and seasonal cold symptoms.  While too many candy canes pack on lots of extra calories, a few minty indulgences are actually good for you.

Cloves:  The distinguishing scent of cloves screams holiday time.  These small, spiky buds are great antimicrobials and anti-inflammatories with a range of health benefits.  They support the immune system, help manage symptoms of diabetes and can curb oral health conditions.

Savory Spices of the Holiday Season

Sage:  This ancient spice is another great way to improve digestion.  Sage contains anti-inflammatory and healing properties that are great for the heart, brain and immune system as well.  Typically used for savory dishes like meats and stews, sage is a fabulous choice for your holiday spice rack.

Rosemary:  Rosemary is a staple spice for holiday roast chickens, turkeys and hams, as well as soups, vegetable dishes and potatoes.  This Mediterranean evergreen improves cognition, circulation and immune health, and it helps detoxify and heal the body.  Rosemary is also believed to reduce stress, which may be a much-needed bonus benefit over the holidays.

Enjoy these delicious and healthful spices of the holiday season!  We wish you a very Happy Holidays!

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