There are some herbs and spices that you must have in the kitchen. Not only will they help you create delicious recipes, they can also benefit your health and give you an energy boost! Couple these with our 7 Healthiest Vegetable recommendations and you’ll be on track to a healthy, antioxidant rich diet!

1. Cinnamon

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Cinnamon has been known to work as an antioxidant that can help to prevent colon cancer. It is also known to regulate blood glucose levels for diabetics and the antioxidant boosting properties in this spice can help your body recoup from exercise.

Shopping Tip: If you are hoping to regulate blood sugar levels, it is best to use Ceylon cinnamon.  This cinnamon is sweeter but ironically lower in sugar.

Cooking Tip: Sprinkle it on your porridge or in the batter of your pancakes. You can also buy cinnamon tea!

2. Oregano

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Oregano can be used fresh either fresh or ground. Both are delicious and good for you. Oregano can spice up a spaghetti sauce or even a vegetable dish like ratatouille. Either way, oregano is great! Oregano is high in antioxidant properties due to its hefty content of phenolic acids and flavonoids. In under-the-microscope studies, it has also shown antimicrobial properties against certain food-borne pathogens. Oregano has also been used to treat issues of the gastrointestinal tract, respiratory system, and nervous system.

Shopping Tip: There are other herbs that go by the name oregano, such as Cuban Oregano or Mexican Oregano. Look for the classic Origanum vulgare, which is the one we are discussing here. 

Cooking Tip: Fresh Oregano can be made into a pesto, or minced and mixed into a marinade for chicken. Dried Oregano can be added to sauces or crumbled over hot stews. 

3. Chili Powder & Chili Pepper

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Chili powder is rich in Vitamin A, can boost metabolism and fight free radicals. It can also reduce pain caused by arthritis and headaches and in its fresh form can also be used as a topical analgesic. Chili powder is also rich in important minerals such as potassium, phosphorous and calcium.

Shopping Tip: Buy the bright red colored fresh chilies. Don’t purchase ones with any brown or dry spots.

Cooking Tip: When it comes to cooking fresh chili peppers, wearing gloves when removing the seeds is advisable if you want to avoid an unexpected surprise later! Make sure to wash your hands well after working with the peppers, even if you’ve worn gloves. Peppers can also be roasted or stir fried to reduce some of the spice.

4. Ginger

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Ginger has been known to settle an upset stomach, reduce inflammation and ease pain. This can be helpful for recovery from workout related injuries. Ginger has also been known to reduce the growth of tumors and cancer cells. It can add a zing to your asian inspired stir fry or a fresh kick to your daily green tea.

Shopping Tip: Pick ginger roots that are heavy for their size and have smooth skin. Avoid ginger roots that are light for their size or have wrinkly flesh.

Cooking Tip: You can grate, mince, and chop ginger for your stir fry, or infuse it into oil for a light ginger flavor. Ground ginger can be used in pretty much the same way, but less is usually needed. 

5. Turmeric

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Fresh turmeric looks very similar to fresh ginger. The powdered version is a vibrant, bright orange…so you can’t miss it! Turmeric has been known to suppress cancer development and has been known to help prevent colon cancer. Turmeric is the spice that gives curry that infamous yellow color and is also a great way to make rice more interesting!

Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric is known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties so can help you recover from a hard workout or injury. Curcumin is also known to lower the risks of heart disease and can soothe a sore throat.

Shopping Tip: Turmeric is generally used dried… so any dried, ground version is best.

Cooking Tip: You can sprinkle turmeric in your egg salad, soup, and even in your rice. You can also use it in a curry dish or steep it in your tea for a throat soothing affect. 

Conclusion

As you can see, there are spices and herbs that can benefit your health and help your body prevent diseases. Adding these to your meals will not only boost the flavor but can also help your body fight against disease and give your body antioxidant properties.