Ahh, it’s that time of the year again. The leaves are changing colorand there is pumpkin flavored everything at Trader Joes. But most of all, the wind is blowing and the air has a crisp chill to it that wasn’t there 4 weeks ago . . .So what better way to cozy up and stay warm than to have a delectable dish (or drink!) flavored with a Fall Spice.
Here’s a list of some fiery fall spices to keep your taste buds excited this season!
Cinnamon is an ancient spice that has been used since 2000 B.C to treat sore throats & arthritis. Today, it has also been discovered to treat vomiting, diarrhea, & the common cold. But what cinnamon is best known for is in aiding stomach aches/digestive problems.
This old spice contains unique oil that’s great at breaking down fats during digestion. Word of advice: eat some cinnamon before or with a big meal to prepare your stomach for easy digestion.
Cinnamon also has antifungal and antibacterial properties that help clean out your gut and relieve your stomach from excess gas.
I like to sprinkle cinnamon on my favorite autumn produce like pumpkin seeds or Butternut squash!
If you’ve never eaten a curry dish, I highly suggest you head downtown to eat some right now! (Just kidding, but you should definitely go try some sometime.)
What’s in curry exactly? The main component of curry is turmeric. Known as the golden spice, due to its burnt orange hue, turmeric not only adds a delicious punch of heat to any dish but is rich in nutritional value as well.
This warm, earthy spice is popular for its anti-inflammatory abilities. The main property of turmeric is called, curcumin. Studies have compared curcumin to be just as effective as the over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug, Motrin.
Additionally, its anti-cancer abilities efficiently aids in apoptosis (cancer cell death) and prevention of cancer cells spreading in one’s body.
The only downside to this spice is our bodies do not easily absorb it. To enhance absorption, black pepper is commonly used alongside turmeric — Like in this savory grilled chicken recipe.
Another way to enjoy this spice is by drinking some warm turmeric milk!
Grown on an exotic evergreen tree, nutmeg is packed with powerful flavor that will greatly enhance whatever drink or dish you sprinkle it onto. This spice works as a strong detoxifying agent, especially for the liver & kidney, which hold the most tonics in our body.
Desert anyone? This recipe makes a hot spice, sweet in a delicate apple cupcake topped with nutmeg frosting.
Nutmeg can also aid those who struggle with insomnia. Studies have shown that this spice increases serotonin levels. In addition nutmeg contains myristicin, a chemical that helps relieve stress. That way you can head to bed feeling more calm and relaxed.
The final fall spice I have for you all this season is called Star Anise. This pretty little spice gets its name from it’s intricate shape – yep, you guessed it, a star!
This ancient Asian spice has a strong licorice-type flavor. And with great taste, comes even greater health benefits!
Star Anise is highly concentrated in shikimic acid, an antiviral property that boosts your immune system. This is especially beneficial during these colder months ahead of us. The acid is even used in the production of anti-flu medication, Tamiflu.
Another way it powers up our immunity is by being packed with essential vitamins & minerals. These include vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, phosphorus, and B-Vitamins.
Star Anise is often used to flavor the broth of Asian soups. Try this easy Vietnamese pho dish to help stay warm in the chilly weather.
I hope you’re just as excited, as I am to add some heat to the kitchen.
I challenge you all to even combine some of these spices together to enhance their flavors and their nutritional values.
by Janelle Manzano, Clinical Nutrition Student