Healthiest Spices | What are the Healthiest Spices?

the-healthiest-spices

Like fruits and vegetables, many of the healthiest spices are rich in antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial compounds.

Used regularly, herbs and spices may help your health in many ways. Including reduced inflammation, fighting free radicals, aid digestion and circulation, lower blood sugar, boost your immune system, and much more.

Healthiest Spices List

Here is a list of perhaps the healthiest spices, what they pair well with, and how they help…

In no particular order,

CLOVES

Cloves tops our healthiest spices list with respect to it’s ORAC value. I wrote about ORAC (potential attributes) in the following article:

Top 100 High ORAC Value Berries | Spices | Herbs

Cloves pair well with: Drinks and in both sweet and savory dishes.

May help: One of the highest levels of antioxidants; relieve bronchitis, asthma, tuberculosis, nausea and diarrhea; tooth and gum pains.

CINNAMON

A Top-5 ORAC value spice.

Pairs well with: Cloves; nutmeg; allspice; chocolate; fruit; nuts; hot cereal

May help: Stabilize blood sugar, reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

OREGANO

Top-5 ORAC value.

Pairs well with: Egg and cheese dishes; beef, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes.

May help: Guard you against a wide array of infections; inhibit E. coli and some staph infections.

TURMERIC

Another Top-5 ORAC value spice!

Pairs well with: Garlic; citrus; ingredients in curry powder, such as coriander & cumin

May help: Quell inflammation, inhibit tumors.

SAGE

Pairs well with: Squashes; parsley; rosemary; thyme; walnuts

May help: Preserve memory, soothe sore throats.

ROSEMARY

Pairs well with: Potatoes; citrus; honey; garlic; onions; chile peppers

May help: Enhance mental focus, fight foodborne bacteria.

CHILE PEPPER

Pairs well with: Ginger; chocolate; beans; beef

May help: Boost metabolism.

GINGER

Pairs well with: Soy sauce; citrus; chile peppers; garlic

May help: Soothe an upset stomach, fight arthritis pain.

SAFFRON

Pairs well with: Shellfish, rice, tomatoes, garlic, onion

May help: Boost your mood, relieve symptoms of PMS.

PARSLEY

Pairs well with: lemon zest, mint, garlic, capers, fish, beef

May help: Prevent cancer.

GARLIC

Pairs well with: Spread roasted garlic on crusty bread, sautee it and add to sauces, and use raw in hummus and salad dressing.

May help: fighting illness, ‘poor man’s antibiotic’, help prevent cardiovascular disease, protecting against gastrointestinal and colorectal cancer.

THYME

Pairs well with: Flavor stews and soups. It works well in Caribbean dishes like jerk chicken and in Creole dishes such as blackened fish.

May help: Increase the amount of omega-3 (good) fatty acids present in kidney and brain cells, excellent antioxidant and rich in antibacterial and antispasmodic properties.

CAYENNE PEPPER

Pairs well with: Add a pinch of powdered cayenne to paella, Thai and Mexican dishes, or any dish that needs a kick.

May help: Boosts circulation, fights infections, aids digestion, boost metabolism.

CILANTRO

Pairs well with: Add fresh cilantro to salsa, guacamole, fish or chicken marinades, and Indian and Chinese soups.

May help: Remove toxic metals such as mercury from the body.

BASIL

Pairs well with: In chicken dishes, pastas, pesto, and tomato-and-cheese sandwiches.

May help: Antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties; contains a wealth of nutrients including beta-carotene and magnesium.

CURRY POWDER, CURCUMIN

Pairs well with: Add to curry dishes, to egg or chicken salad, or savory lentil or rice recipes.

May help: Very potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent; activates cellular defense mechanisms in genes.

PAPRIKA

Pairs well with: Wide variety including sauces, egg garnish, chicken, Mexican, Mediterranean and Cajun spice blends.

May help: Contribute toward cardiovascular health, as well as cancer prevention; Contains flavonoids that help to neutralize damaging free radicals; Reduce chronic pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.

Healthiest Spices | What’s Your Opinion?

Anything to add to this list? Or recommendations, cautions, or otherwise?

Note: This is not medical advice. It’s just a list of what many believe to be some of the healthiest spices. Whether or not they actually perform is up to debate. Though much of it has been widely ascertained.

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29 Comments

  1. To me the “best” would be things I can grow in my own area. Turmeric, ginger, cloves and cinnamon are finite resources. I have grown turmeric and ginger, but never got enough to actually harvest and use. Pepper is another I haven’t been able to grow.

    I use garlic all the time for health reasons. Healthiest depends on what I need at the moment.

    1. @ Lauren, Garlic is one of our “go to” herbs for a variety of health reasons also. It is one that we do grow too. The Cayenne is one I use as a tincture. Three or four drops to a couple ounces of water usually strips away the beginning of a sore throat with the circulatory benefits getting the additional supplements I may take going to where they are needed. Several other spices Ken listed are on the storage shelf and used with various meals.

  2. We love ginger but it doesn’t keep well. We tried one recommendation of storing it in vodka, it kept but limited use. Dehydrated it gets hard as a rock. Frozen does work but looking for something better. Brined in salt and vinegar is okay, perhaps the best way so far. Next to try is crystalizing it.

      1. I meant something more flavorful than a simple salt and vinegar brine. I slice it thin and add lemongrass, lime leaf, and a little sugar to the standard salt, vinegar, and water.

    1. This is how I do it , it’s the easiest way for me plus I don’t want to taste it going dow.

      1.Slice herb and Slow and low Dehydrate couple of days or till it cracks.(the water has left the Herb everything else is still in there .
      Low heat best

      2.Chop & Grind to a finest powder you can get (magic bullet mixer both blades ).

      3.Put in dry container. (Empty herb bottle)?

      4. Purchase empty 00 capsules.
      Push long end of capsule into pile of herb in Jell-O shot cup packing tight then put the capsules together .

      I take 4 to 5 capsules a day it’s about 1 teaspoon ..close.

  3. Have had zero problems with vampires since I increased my use of garlic. Seriously though, garlic is also known to be a natural mosquito repellent. Mosquito born disease is projected to increase in areas where climate is warming.

  4. Vamps do not like me either! Garlic is my fave. I buy crystalized ginger at the store. Seems to keep well.

  5. Ok, I did not know Ginger, doesn’t store well. Should I go and check my qt vacuum sealed jars? What do I look for? color, mold. If I open them, what do I look for?

    1. Our ginger grows mold in the refrigerator within 10 days. The capsule idea wouldn’t work as we want to taste it.

  6. Most cinnamon is actually cassia bark. Ceylon Cinnamon is the real deal with a delightful light taste with superior health benefits.

    Other than that, you pretty much hit my list except for Black Salt from the Kostromo region of Russia. /ginger, garlic and onions are consumed copiously in my home

  7. Last week I found a large bottle of garlic & jalapeno stuffed green olives at Sam’s Club. Had been fighting a cold/blahs for a couple days and started having of few of the stuffed olives every day and it went away! Not sure I can credit the stuffed olives, but at least I could taste them.

  8. Finally,From my experience probably the Garlic and the Jalapeno.. something about the effects expected from garlic – is enhanced by the increased heat and circulation increased by hot spices. Cayenne works… too. I have not researched olives…

  9. Cardamom. Lowers blood pressure, antibacterial, anticancer. I use it to make my Finnish Grandmother’s Finnish Coffee bread every year at this time. Amazingly , loaves of that can sit wrapped on a shelf in the pantry for a number of weeks without getting moldy. Hearty bread, friend lived off it for 3 days stuck in a snowdrift in the Shirley Basin, Wyoming years ago….Anyway, good spice cardamom.

  10. Just wanted to say that when I make home made chicken soup,(about 2 quarts), I add a couple of diced up garlic cloves, one or two teaspoons of finely diced ginger, and 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne powder. A bowl of that seems to make me feel better when I have a cold or flu, and I rest better. It’s worth a try.

  11. I freezed dryed garlic it darkened up some but tastse great been about two years now still good. Same with onions.

  12. my long time girl friend has chronic pain i was looking around for way to kill pain WITHOUT drugs i saw that not only did GINGER help with pain it helped with inflammation lowered A1C stomach issues digestion issues it is also a good antiviral and antibiotic so i started buying ginger fresh from the store and making tea with it so far it has KICKED ASS and taken names FOR ME i love this stuff

      1. While on this topic, a long time ago I found a recipe for a topical pain killer. Not for internal use. It’s as follows.
        1-tbls. cayenne powder
        1/3 cup olive oil
        1/8 cup grated bees wax
        Heat in double boiler 5 to 10 minutes. Mix well, add bees wax and mix. Chill 10 minutes, mix again. Keep in refridg.
        I guess you rub this cream on painful joints, etc. I’m not sure how well this works, as I haven’t needed anything like that, Yet. It seems to me I’d use a heaping tbls. of cayenne powder for a little extra kick? Hope this helps.

  13. Then there’s the fragrance component which for me boosts happiness and strengthens well-being. A lot related to good memories.

    Toasted chilies bring back the best memories of very happy times in New Mexico.

    Cardamom is my favorite; put it in most baked goods esp oatmeal cookies. Reminds me of exotic locales and times past.

    Holiday spices bring back wonderful family times from early childhood to just a couple weeks ago.

    Lemongrass grew wild in my garden in West Africa. Ginger in South Asia.

    Beloved offspring had a Scarborough Fair garden for years. Loved to run my hands through the plants on a hot day to release the scents.

    Mints and vanilla always make me smile . . .

  14. The one thing I hate about ginger is peeling it; it’s always in the formation of your bachelor uncle’s warty nose. But today I used my newest EDC, a painter’s tool (mentioned elsewhere), that is perfect. I used the straight and round scraper for peeling and the point for getting into the crevices.

  15. I crystalized ginger using maple syrup and it was super simple to do and very good.
    I’ve avoided cayenne due to tummy riots but since I love it I went for it and it cured the problem.
    I’ve been using loads of turmeric in my pickled eggs and it has added flavor.
    I prefer garlic raw in a salad.

  16. For turmeric, one thing to note is that hydro-soluble supplement forms absorb better than food form as a spice.

  17. Wow what a health of information ladies. Thanks for the knowledge and I will use All of the recipes. Lol

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