When you think of the holidays, what tastes and scents come to mind? I love adding cinnamon in my tea cup, baking gingersnap cookies, lighting vanilla candles and so much more to remind me of the holiday season. Holiday spices are arguably the most savory spices of them all, but did you know that aside from their delicious taste, many of these spices have a host of powerful health benefits?
Bestselling author, TEDx speaker and former immunologist turned mind-body wellness expert, Jaya Jaya Myra, rounded up her favorite spices and the health benefits of each one.
“Holiday spices are among the most beneficial and medicinal spices in the world. They can reduce inflammation and pain in the body, provide protection from bacterial and viral infections, regulate blood sugar levels, relieve anxiety, stress and depression and boost mood naturally.” – Jaya Jaya Myra
Here are the mind-body benefits for popular holiday spices!
Cinnamon is a potent source of antioxidants with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. It can improve heart health, brain health and memory, lower cancer risk, fight allergies and even boost the immune system with it’s powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Cinnamon helps fight diabetes by preventing excess sugar from entering the bloodstream. Cinnamon is also good for dental health, and can help prevent cavities and bad breath!
Nutmeg can help relieve pain, soothe indigestion, strengthen memory and cognitive function, act as an antispasmodic and mild sedative, and is even considered an aphrodisiac! It’s mood-boosting and relaxation powers make it a go-to medicinal spice. It can also help detoxify the body, boost skin health, improve oral health, reduce insomnia, boost the immune system, and even improve blood circulation.
The benefits of ginger are near endless! Ginger can boost memory, concentration, reaction time and attention to detail. It contains over 50 antioxidant compounds with strong anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce pain, comparable with over the counter medications. Ginger settles the stomach decreasing nausea, including morning sickness, and treats chronic indigestion and menstrual pain. It can decrease stress and anxiety, while also promoting better sleep. It can help control type 2 diabetes by increasing insulin sensitivity and lowering blood sugar levels. Ginger even has antiviral properties that can fight the flu and common cold, and possibly covid.
Cloves are like little magic wands that pack a powerful punch! They have strong antimicrobial, antiviral properties and anticancer, and can improve oral health, while acting as a numbing agent for painful teeth. They have also been shown to improve liver health, bone health, regulate blood sugar levels and even reduce stomach ulcers.