Keeping your foods flavorful will do more than just make what you eat taste delicious. It turns out, the herbs and spices you already have in your kitchen cabinets are packed with protective nutrients that can help you fight diseases. From Alzheimer’s to staph infections, here are 5 herbs and spices you’ll want to get more.
To get the most life-giving properties out of these herbs and spices, use whole or dried versions whenever possible. Also, store them in a cool, dark place.
The word sage means wise and so it makes perfect sense that its herbal namesake is great brain fuel. Sage has a strong aroma and earthy flavor, which is why it’s typically used in small amounts. Even so, it’s packed with a variety of important nutrients and compounds.
The leaves of common sage have been used traditionally as a remedy against diabetes.
Human and animal research indicates that it may help lower blood sugar levels.
In one study, sage extract reduced blood glucose levels in rats with type 1 diabetes by activating a specific receptor. When this receptor is activated, it can help clear excess free fatty acids in the blood, which in turn improves insulin sensitivity.
Another study in mice with type 2 diabetes found that sage tea acts like metformin — a drug prescribed to manage blood sugar in people with the same disease.
In humans, sage leaf extract has been shown to lower blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity with a similar effect as rosiglitazone, another anti-diabetes drug.
A report published by the National Institutes of Health found that in eight clinical trials, sage was also shown to increase cognitive performance. Two of the studies involved Alzheimer’s patients and sage was shown to decrease the effects of the disease.
What do you get when you combine cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg? The most fragrant prostate cancer fighter! Ercofolin, a compound found in allspice, was used to kill prostate cancer cells and reduce tumor growth in a University of Miami study. Allspice is a signature ingredient in Jamaican jerk seasoning, so all the more reason to get more jerk chicken in your life.