Whenever I think of holiday foods, I think of spices…
The irresistible warm aromas of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and so on…
There’s something very soothing and comforting about a house filled with these enticing smells, isn’t there?
And they do more than just smell good — and taste great…
They also have some pretty amazing health benefits.
First, I need to point out one problem…
During holiday season, these spices are often stuffed into sugary, unhealthy foods like cookies and pies…
However, they don’t have to be!
Let me show how to enjoy three of the most popular holiday spices… without falling off the health wagon. And some wonderful health benefits you can enjoy along the way!
Cinnamon has been linked to better heart health, reduced blood pressure, lower blood sugar levels, a healthier immune system, and improved cognitive function.
And it’s a great way to add flavor and a little sweetness to foods without the calories.
You can sprinkle some on baked sweet potatoes — which are excellent sources of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and beta-carotene.
Cinnamon is also a delicious addition to baked butternut or acorn squash — which are are great sources of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
And if you’re a fan of dessert (who isn’t?), one of my favorite desserts is baked apples with cinnamon. Yum!
Now, a lot of baked apple recipes call for brown sugar, but you don’t need it. Cinnamon plays up the natural sweetness of the apple!
Simply core and slice an apple into sections, put it into a shallow baking dish, sprinkle on some cinnamon, and bake it at 350ºF for 15 minutes.
You can also cook the apple in your microwave in a just a few minutes.
[Bonus: To make your apple dessert richer, add a spoonful of Greek yogurt.]
Nutmeg has been used to preserve cognitive function, improve blood circulation, aid in digestion, and help with bone and tissue growth.
And in the kitchen, nutmeg is wonderful on healthy veggies like cauliflower, cabbage, and broccoli…
Especially if you usually have a hard time eating these veggies!
You can steam, roast, or stir-fry your veggies, then sprinkle on some nutmeg before serving. Instantly delicious!
I also like a little nutmeg on my oatmeal, along with a few raisins and some nuts — like almonds or walnuts.
Try a bowl this way and you won’t need to add sugar. It’s delicious, and you’ll get the protein, fiber, heart health, and cholesterol benefits of the oats.
Ginger has countless uses in traditional medicine…
Some include reducing nausea, easing muscle aches and joint pain, lowering blood sugar, regulating cholesterol, relieving indigestion, and improving brain function.
And it’s got just as many uses in the kitchen. It goes perfectly with just about every kind of food — from appetizers to desserts.
When cooking with ginger, you can use either fresh ginger or ginger spice.
For example, one of my favorite ways to enjoy ginger spice is sprinkled on sliced pears or peaches, as a healthy dessert.
And ginger is a wonderful complement to poultry and fish entrees, too — especially in yummy stir-fries.
You can cook fresh ginger into the stir-fry, or have a shaker of ginger spice on your table so you can ‘gingerize’ to your personal Taste.
Don’t be afraid to experiment!
Don’t hesitate to try cinnamon, nutmeg, or ginger on some of your own favorite dishes.
You’ll be amazed at how many foods can be transformed with just a little spicing up.