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Spice up your holiday leftovers and stick to your New Year’s resolutions with sensational winter seasonings! Herbs and spices are a low-calorie, sodium-free way to add flavor, and come with amazing health benefits. Start the New Year right by shaking things up – starting in the kitchen!
- Mint: This refreshing and stimulating herb works well with both sweet and savory flavors. It helps improve mood, digestion, chest congestion, heartburn, nausea, and headaches. Fresh mint leaves make for a lovely garnish, and also contain more potent nutrients than dried. Add fresh mint to vinaigrettes to top a salad, try a scoop of homemade fresh mint ice cream for dessert, or enjoy a hot cup of soothing mint tea before bed.
- Cinnamon: Chances are you’ll find this sweet spice everywhere during the colder months. Cinnamon is a great aid in the winter, because it has warming and antimicrobial properties that help when you’re feeling ill, especially with indigestion and nausea. As an added bonus, cinnamon also helps rev your metabolism! Whole cinnamon sticks are a nice addition to drinks to help you enjoy the sweet without the sugar. Use cinnamon powder in the morning to top oatmeal, whole gran toast, and even coffee!
- Chamomile: Calming and mild, chamomile goes great with many blends of teas and juices. In fact, hot chamomile tea is the perfect drink to have before bed to get a good night’s rest, especially in the cold winter months! It also relieves stomachaches, muscle spasms, and promotes relaxation which helps you de-stress and unwind.
- Ginger: Ginger is powerful and refreshing and tastes like a pinch of lemon with a splash of spiced pepper. It’s very versatile and goes great with many different foods, teas, and juices. Benefits include increasing circulation, reducing inflammation, and relieving congestion, nausea, gas, and chills. Ginger also promotes a healthy immune system by amplifying your tolerance to cold weather. Have crystalized ginger before or after a meal as a great digestive aid and to cleanse your palate. Use fresh or powdered ginger in cooking. And if you’re brave, try it raw with sushi or Asian cuisine for an intense punch of flavor!
- Cloves: Festive to the eyes, the dark little prickles look sharp but are actually sweet! Cloves have very beneficial antiviral and antiseptic properties — great when you have a cold. It can even help expel excess gas in the digestive system, due to its carminative nature! If you’re in a jam, chew on a raw clove to eliminate bad breath. Use the whole clove by taking the sharp end of the clove bud to stud the outside of your holiday ham or to decorate other meats for a special occasion. Or add ground clove to your favorite recipes.
- Sage: This ancient herb has many healing components that have been used for thousands of years. It is an anti-inflammatory and helps reduce stomach and intestinal irritations. It promotes a healthy memory, and is one of the most effective herbs to relieve a sore throat. Sage compliments many hot dishes in the winter with a wonderful refreshing scent, and is the key component in stuffing. It’s also great in slow cooking recipes like roasts and stews, and can lighten up strong tasting meats.
Spice up your life in 2016 — And remember that a little goes a long way!
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