Tap the Healing Power of Spices in Your Paleo Meals

By Kellyann Petrucci, Melissa Joulwan, Patrick Flynn, Adriana Harlan

The Paleo lifestyle is all about improving your health and general well-being. To this end, you should consider cooking with spices. Many cultures have used spices to heal for thousands of years. The following are top picks for healing spices:

  • Black pepper: Pepper is a great spice to maximize your digestion. It helps move food along the colon at a good pace, and the quicker and smoother the ride, the healthier your colon.

    If you have digestive complaints, black pepper can be irritating to the intestinal lining.

  • Cayenne: Cayenne lowers blood pressure and has even been known to stop a heart attack! Cayenne thins phlegm and eases its passage through the lungs, and it improves digestion and relieves nausea and gas.

  • Cinnamon: Cinnamon is serious about balancing blood sugar. Its active ingredient, cinnamaldehyde, decreases blood sugar, total cholesterol, and triglycerides and increases good cholesterol. This wonderful spice may also help treat cancer because it may slow the development of new blood supplies to tumors.

  • Curry: If you’ve ever tasted Indian food, you’ve probably tried curry. It controls diabetes and can prevent or treat heart disease, infection, age-related memory loss, and inflammation. Curry has powerful antioxidants called carbazole alkaloids that are abundant only in the curry leaf and are responsible for preventing cell damage, which causes disease and premature aging.

  • Ginger: Ginger rules all natural digestive aids: It relieves nausea and vomiting, settles the stomach, and eases the discomfort from gas and bloating. Research shows that ginger is one of the most effective remedies available for motion sickness, even more so than over-the-counter medications. It’s also an antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory that helps treat migraine headaches, arthritis, and asthma.

  • Oregano: Oregano is your natural protection against infection. The active compounds in oregano have strong antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Oregano helps get rid of intestinal parasites and kills the bacteria that causes food poisoning; it heals ulcers, calms intestinal irritation, and aids in digestion. Plus, oregano contains minerals, antioxidants, fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.

  • Parsley: Parsley contains an antioxidant called apigenin that helps other antioxidants work better. Parsley is used as a diuretic; can reduce high blood pressure; and is a natural agent to fight cancer, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes.

  • Thyme: The healing oil in thyme is a natural antiseptic. When applied to skin or the mucous membranes of the mouth, it kills germs. Thyme is great for calming coughs and helping prevent tooth decay and general infection.

  • Turmeric: The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which has been shown to protect and heal virtually every organ in the human body. Turmeric protects against cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, eye diseases, depression, and skin problems. Research at Tufts University showed that turmeric may prevent weight gain.