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Holiday Edition: Nutrition News by Beth Gasho, RD, LDN, CNSC

Spice It Up for Health!

Who would have known that those spices in your kitchen cabinet have true health benefits?  It’s great news that adding a little of this and a little of that not only makes your food taste better, but also may add to your health and well-being!  I have gotten a little braver about taking traditional recipes and experimenting with different spices that I think might work better to add the Yum! factor.

Spices have been used in all cultures throughout history to make traditional bland foods more palatable when eaten night after night, especially when fresh foods weren’t accessible.  But back then, before the times of modern medicine, spices were also used to treat disease and ailments.  The latest research shows that many spices do have remarkable health benefits.  And they contain no calories and require no preparation!  Here are 3 of my favorites to spice up your holidays!


The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has been shown to act like an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer agent.  Studies show that it can improve brain function, fight Alzheimer’s, reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, and relieve arthritis.

  • Add turmeric to curry dishes, salad dressings, and marinades.
  • For tea, mix ¼ tsp turmeric with a cup of boiling water; strain with a fine sieve, and add honey to taste.
  • Add to jasmine or basmati rice when cooking.


Ginger is well-known for treating nausea; this includes nausea caused by chemotherapy, morning sickness, and motion sickness.  But did you know that it can also reduce muscle soreness after exercise due to its anti-inflammatory properties?  Research also has linked ginger intake to a greater attention span and improved memory.

  • Add a sprinkle to smoothies or fresh squeezed juices.
  • Sprinkle it over applesauce or toast with peanut butter.
  • Add to stir-fries or roasted vegetables.


Research shows that cinnamon improves the way our cells metabolize glucose, helping to prevent sugar highs and lows.  It also functions as an antioxidant, and as little as a half teaspoon a day may lower cholesterol and triglycerides in our blood.

  • Sprinkle on baked or mashed sweet potatoes or acorn squash.
  • Add to your morning oatmeal.
  • Mix it into your black bean or chili dishes.


Enjoy your holiday season, and please email me at with any topic requests for future nutrition blogs!

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