It’s a Spice-y World

Sup, world? W’s back and I’ve got some more little nuggets of wisdom to share. As you all know, we’ve got a new president and everything seems a bit wonkier than they should be. So instead of freaking out like the rest of humanity seems intent on doing, I decided to hunker down and focus on more grounded things–literally.

I’m talking about spices, of course. If you’ve been living in your little bubble and aren’t familiar with spices, they’re an aromatic or pungent substance used to flavor food. Yep, everything that we’ve ever added to our food to give it a little bit more flavor to it. Use pepper? That’s a spice. Love spicy food? The chili you put in your pot of Gumbo is a spice.

If you’re wondering what brought this all on, my good friend Lily was kind enough to sit down with me and talk me through the other useful ways we can use spice. Yeah, imagine that–other ways to use or benefit from spices. So Lily walked me through some of the basic easily accessible spices that do more than just smell good. Some of these spices have long starred in the traditional medicine scene! Lemme share with you some of the interesting things I’ve discovered.

Cinnamon can help lower our blood sugar levels, reduce heart disease risk, and lowers the risk of diabetes. And here I was thinking that Cinnamon was just a seriously delicious pastry roll. This particular spice is harvested from the inner bark of the tree species Cinnamomum. It smells great and adds a lot of flavor to any treat like your coffee or hot chocolate. Now, I know it even boosts my health. However, before you go crazy over cinnamon (like I almost did), Lily was quick to point out that too much of it can actually be toxic.  Too much of it can damage our liver and kidney. It’s pretty good then that it doesn’t take much for the flavor to really kick in and just a few teaspoons of the stuff can give you the health benefits that you’re after.

Turmeric helps fight indigestion, throat infections, and other inflammations. You might have seen this particular spice in your local grocery store but ignored it. It’s pretty bright yellow so it’s kinda hard to miss. It was primarily used in Asian and Middle Eastern cooking for its flavor and its color. Europeans came to label it as “Indian Saffron” since it was a more affordable alternative to actual saffron. Lily also said that turmeric paper is used for chemical analysis in order to determine the presence of alkalinity in water or solutions. So imagine that, not only does it enhance food, give health benefits, it’s also pretty useful for scientific purposes.

Ginger is pretty useful when you’re dealing with travel sickness or nausea. It’s also pretty effective against dyspepsia which is the lovely trio of bloating, heartburn, and flatulence. I’m sure that you’ve heard of someone who swears by the combination of ginger and honey to soothe upset stomachs–so apparently, it really works. Personally, I like how ginger tastes in Asian cuisine. If you’ve never had Tinola before, you’re seriously missing out. Also, teriyaki makes use of ginger. So I’m truly thankful for this one spice in particular.

So while these are just a few of the spices I learned about, there’s so much more out there that I’ve yet to really read about. What about you buds out there? Do you have any tried and tested spice experiences that you wanna share–don’t hesitate to send me an email! So s’cuse me while I take a trip to my local market and see what other spices are available for me.