Naked meals are never fun, that is why I am always sure to add spices. Not only are spices flavor enhancing, they also have many health benefits. Spices are made of the seeds, berries, bark or roots of a plant which are rich in phytochemicals, which fight inflammation and reduce damage to your body’s cells. Spices are also full of antibacterial and antiviral properties, and many are high in b-vitamins and trace minerals. Finally, given that spices add extra flavor to our meals, they can help you cut back on less healthy ingredients such as table salt, added fat and sugar.

Best Spices for Immune System

Turmeric, a flavorful ancient spice, gets its vibrant bright colors from an anti-inflammatory component curcumin. Often used to prevent flu and colds, turmeric increases the immunomodulating capacity of one’s body, which is the chemical of controlling one’s immune system. Along with turmeric, ginger is commonly used to target cold viruses. Ginger contains sesquiterpenes, which are chemicals that counter the virus. Commonly used to add flavor to dishes, garlic increases antioxidant enzymes in humans, aiding the immune system. Lastly, cinnamon is a commonly used sweet spice used to fight infection and aid damaged tissue.

Spices for Pregnancy

Garlic is a spice commonly used to help relax your blood vessels and allows easier blood circulation. Garlic allows your organs to be in shape by allowing good blood flow. Ginger is additionally effective since it can be used to treat morning sickness and nausea during pregnancy, by adding a pinch to meals or tea. Black pepper increases levels of chromium. Low levels of chromium increases blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Lastly, cardamom helps to prevent blood clots. Women facing anemia could add cardamom which creates a zesty citrus flavor to dishes.

Spices for Liver Detox

Cayenne seasoning encourages digestion and muscle movement in your intestines and helps your body absorb nutrients. Turmeric helps detox the liver due to the existing curcumin. This ingredient stimulates the bile in your gall bladder that rids of toxins. Coriander is used to enhance the taste of the food. This spice also adds to detoxifying the liver, which overall enhances liver health. Coriander powder is frequently used in dishes such as vegetable preparation to add an aromatic taste to a dish. Dandelion root, originating from the flowering plant, is used to help cleanse the liver by increasing bile production which allows easier digestion. This also helps remove waste and toxins quicker and more efficiently as well.

Spices for Kidney Health

Cutting back on sugar and limiting one’s intake can be prevented by the addition of flavorful tastes in order to replace them. Oregano, high in vitamin K, helps fight bacteria to reduce inflammation.​ ​Oregano can easily be added, in addition to other herbs/spices, to protein or pasta dishes. It adds so much flavor and makes the food extra tasty.

Spices for Relax and Sleep

Cumin has medicinal properties to induce sleep and has been westernized to create better sleep patterns. Melatonin is present within cumin seeds which can help treat

sleep disorders like insomnia. In small amounts, nutmeg also creates a calming effect by releasing chemicals and extracts such as myristicin, elemicin, and safrole in order to relax tired muscles and nerves. Valerian root contains compounds which influence and promote health sleep patterns and reduce anxiety. From the valerian plant once used to make perfumes, valerian allows calmness by reducing GABA breakdown and stabilizes mood levels in the brain. Additionally, lemon balm can help ease insomnia and relieve alternative sleep disorders. Frequently brewed in tea, lemon balm may relieve restlessness.

Spices for Digestion and Gut Health

Peppermint is frequently used to ease pain and relax the digestive system. Oftentimes added to tea, peppermint prevents muscles from contracting and promotes gut health by relieving spasms. Fennel seed is also used to relax and reduce gas, bloating, and stomach cramps. By containing estragole, fenchone, and anethole, fennel contains anti-inflammatory components. Ginger helps to increase the breakdown of food in one’s body. Ginger aids in both digestive health and saliva flow. Rosemary contains many antioxidants which reduce inflammation and relieves gas pain. The leaf, often used for herbal medicine, increases blood flow and circulation in the body.

Spices for Colon Cleanse

Marshmallow root contains mucilage which is typically used for antibacterial activity. Researchers suggest that marshmallow root can help flush excess fluid in the body and cleanse areas such as the kidney or bladder. Typically consumed as a capsule or in tea form, marshmallow root detoxifies the colon from waste. Slippery elm bark is also frequently used to treat inflammatory bowel diseases. Coming from the tree, the demulcent found in slippery elm reduces irritation by helping to soothe the intestine lining. Licorice root is often used to cleanse the colon due to the component glycyrrhizin. This is responsible for the sweet taste and aids both anti-inflammatory properties and acid reflux.

Neda Varbanova

Neda Varbanova

Neda Varbanova is the creator of Healthy with Nedi, a website designed to share innovative healthy recipes and lifestyle tips. Neda’s culinary creations are centered around fresh foods and are inspired by her time in the kitchen with her beloved mother and grandmother in Bulgaria and Greece. When Neda first arrived in the United States during middle school, she found that the American diet left her feeling ill. She quickly returned to her roots and began eating a Mediterranean-inspired diet again. This shift restored her health and reinvigorated her. Neda’s experience motivated her to dedicate her life to sharing the pleasures of eating wholesome, fresh, Mediterranean-inspired meals with everyone she meets. Neda’s journey has led her to continually increase her knowledge about healthy food. She holds a master’s degree in food studies from New York University Steinhardt, a certificate in culinary nutrition from the Natural Gourmet Institute and is a certified health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Her work has been featured in Elle, Grazia, The Chalkboard, Well + Good, Healthline, mindbodygreen, Greatist, Business Insider, NBC News and more. You can find Neda at and on social media @HealthyWithNedi.