It’s rare that the health benefits of everyday spices are discussed in the nutrition community, but the powers of cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger shouldn’t go unmentioned! These are all proven to have therapeutic qualities, and yet you hardly ever see them featured in any special diets or health programs, despite centuries or even millennia of medicinal use. This is mostly due to the fact that studies which explore the health benefits of spices often only examine supplemental quantities (amounts typically greater than what you would use in a meal). However, this doesn’t diminish the helpful qualities of any of these spices, as they can fortify an already healthy food or beverage and make it even better! Coffee itself is no exception, as it has beneficial properties that are compounded once you add a corresponding spice to it. Coffee beans contain high levels of antioxidants, the same can be said of cloves, cinnamon, and turmeric. Antioxidants are a timeless nutrient; they help mitigate the damage done by free radicals in the body, something that every human invariably suffers from.
According to findings collected by the National Institute of Health (NIH)
, moderate coffee consumption has actually been linked to decreased risk of a whole host of severe or even deadly conditions. In one study, led by Dr. Neal Freedman of NIH’s National Cancer Institute, subjects who consumed three or more cups of coffee a day benefitted from a 10% total decreased risk of death. These coffee drinkers were also found to be at a decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and respiratory disease. While the exact compounds contributing to these amazing benefits can’t be pinpointed, external factors such as exercise and alcohol consumption and were accounted for over the course of the study.
Ten percent less likely to die? It makes a simple cup of coffee sound like a magic potion, or futuristic wonder drug! Just think about it— if simply having a few cups of Joe a day prevents serious disease, then imagine what adding an anti-inflammatory like turmeric or an analgesic like ginger could do? The next time you decide make your morning cup, you should consider what a pinch of spice could add to your life.