I read a great article today from a well-known dietitian on spices. Spices are wonderous – it is a great way to add flavor without uneeded calories and sodium, it can help with flavor fatigue and more. My top spices include:

1. Cocoa powder – I sprinkle it in my Greek yogurt and oatmeal
2. Cinnamon – I add it to my coffee every day
3. Basil – what don’t I add this to?? I love it in my eggs, veggies and more.
4. Black pepper – every dinner table should have a black pepper grinder. Adds the perfect touch to salads and many other side options.

Below is the mentioned article that has even more ideas. Add some spice to your life (food) and reap the health benefits!

Local Dietitian Says Spices Can Ease Pain, Help With Weight Loss

Medical experts said items in your spice rack can help ease pain, lower your risk of diseases and help with weight loss.

“A lot of nutritional value, they have a lot of antioxidants. So from the standpoint that they can lower risk of disease they are very helpful. And some spices might have an added value in that they can slightly boost your metabolism,” said registered dietician Leslie Bonci.

Bonci said you must still eat wisely.

“It is a slight effect. It may help the body to oxidize or burn fat a little more efficiently,” Bonci said.

Some spices do that more effectively than others, Bonci said.

With some, you can burn an extra 50 calories, and considering the alternatives, a sprinkle here and there sounds a little easier.

To burn 50 calories you would probably have to walk half a mile, or bike two miles.

“This is not something you have to take away. This is an add in. That’s not what people usually hear about dieting, it’s take away, take away. But with this, add in and you may lose some weight,” Bonci said.

So what are Bonci’s top five favorites?

First, ginger.

“It can be an anti-inflammatory and also helps with nausea,” she said.

Next, red pepper.

“People will use the red pepper in a cream and use it on the skin like Bengay. It’s cayenne instead of eucalyptus,” she said.

Then cinnamon, garlic and curry with turmeric.

“One of the spices getting a lot of attention right now is turmeric. It is in curry powder and in mustard. From an anti-inflammatory perspective and lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, that’s good. Helping to improve memory and lowering the risk of certain cancers. That’s 3 benefits from one spice,” Bonci said.

Finally, for the coffee lovers, Bonci has an added bonus for you.

“Cinnamon in coffee might save someone that extra sugar packet and there is another 15-20 calories saved,” Bonci said.

Bonci said if you have ulcers or reflux you might want to be cautious about the amount of spice they use. And also beware of the garlic salt. It’s primarily salt with a little garlic. Use a garlic powder or minced garlic, or just buy it in a fresh form.

Nutritionists said you can mix up spices to figure out what helps you the most.

As always, you should consult your doctor before making major changes to your diet.