Can Turmeric Cure the Blues? Five Spices & their Surprising Health Benefits

So a man with a bun on his head walks into a coffee shop. "Turmeric latte," I predicted. He ordered a turmeric latte. Our small group had a laugh, but turns out the joke was on us. What seemed like an insufferable hipster trend is actually a health tonic backed by science. Below are five spices that can boost your health!

Turmeric

Turmeric is a powerhouse for reducing inflammation; an obtuse term used to describe many ailments, such as arthritis. This also includes the brain, where inflammation is linked to both Alzheimer's and depression. Turmeric can can fight cognitive decline and help lift your spirits, according to an 18-month study. More recently, a Johns Hopkins study found that a combination of curcumin (a chemical found in turmeric) and a chemotherapy drug was more effective at shrinking drug-resistant tumors than using chemotherapy alone. Time to up your Indian curry intake, and order that man bun special!

Cinnamon

People with Type 2 diabetes can rejoice that a dash of cinnamon can help reduce blood sugar levels. It's also a heart-healthy spice, reducing high blood cholesterol and triglycerides. So add a dash to your coffee, shredded wheat; or your next cocktail!

Ginger

Ginger reduces nausea, and I can vouch for this one. I lived off chewy ginger candies during my pregnancy (our announcement is pictured above). I didn't merely crave ginger - I needed it to function. In addition to pregnancy or medication-induced nausea, you can take ginger before flying or long car rides to fight motion sickness. It can be enjoyed in a tea, stir fry dishes, ground into salad dressings or candied. 

Garlic

Unfortunately, the hardening of the arteries is normal as we age. It's called atherosclerosis and occurs as fatty deposits build up on the inside of our artery walls. It can be made worse with smoking or high blood pressure, making us susceptible to heart attacks and strokes. The good news is, researchers have linked garlic intake with keeping blood vessels flexible, especially with women! So put extra garlic in all of the things! Guacamole, marinara sauce, sauteed veggies and roasted turkey were never hurt by a little (or a lot) extra garlic. Just pop a mint before you kiss the cook! 

Cayenne

They say to avoid spicy foods if suffering from ulcers. Strangely, cayenne pepper has been linked to reducing them! Consuming it restricts the growth of an ulcer-causing bacteria (Helicobacter pylori or H. pylori), by reducing excess stomach acid and increasing blood flow. Cayenne pepper is also loaded with capsaicin, a natural pain-killer. It reduces the amount of pain signals that are sent to your brain, helping with arthritis, nerve damage and muscle pain. So add this kicker to your marinades, casseroles and soups.

Now pardon me while I try to convince myself that a trip to Cinnabun is actually good for me....