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Top 5 Health Benefits of Spices

Spices offer much more than a decorative addition to meals. Aside from making food taste better, they can help to protect against obesity, as well as chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

What makes them so powerful? Polyphenol, which is a type of plant compound, provide the primary benefits that spices bring to the dinner table. It can also be found in tea, red wine, and fruits and veggies.1

Spices are linked to several health advantages: 23

Health Benefit #1 – Spices May Help You Control Your Weight

We tend to eat bland foods faster with less satisfaction than tasty foods. And when we’re not satisfied, we’re bound to overeat, and inevitably gain weight.

Using spices over salty sauces keeps the flavor but nixes the extra salt, as well as calories, fat and sugar.

In fact, a study shows that a compound found in chili peppers called dihydrocapsiate can rev people’s fat-burning capacity when they eat it three times a day.

Health Benefit #2 – Spices May Help Prevent High Blood Pressure & Diabetes

Every one in three Americans has high blood pressure.

But evidence shows that adding certain spices to foods can help bring blood pressure rates down.
For example, the spice cardamom is found to reduce blood pressure and improve antioxidant status. And cinnamon can potentially fight diabetes. The antioxidants in cinnamon are linked to lower inflammation, as well as reductions in blood glucose concentrations in people with diabetes.

Health Benefit #3 – Spices May Have Cancer-Fighting Components

Some spices, like turmeric and cumin, have certain cancer-fighting components. For instance, turmeric contains polyphenol curcumin, which has been proven to slow or halt the growth of cancer cells causing melanoma, leukemia, and breast, brain, pancreatic, and prostate cancers.

Health Benefit #4 – Eating Spices Instead of Salt Helps Reduce Sodium Intake

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Dietary Guidelines of 2010 recommend people under 51 reduce daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams. They recommend anyone over 51 to reduce intake to 1,500 milligrams, as well as anyone who is African American, has hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. Thus, the dietary guidelines require most Americans to find substitutes to salt and other sodium-based additives.4

Health Benefit #5 – Spices Can Keep the Heart and Lungs Healthy

Several spices, especially ones sourced from India, have great potential to maintain a strong heart. Spices like ginger and turmeric, can serve as preventative and treatment agents for managing heart diseases. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory makeup is useful in fighting heart disease, and studies show turmeric can help counteract conditions like cystic fibrosis and other lung diseases, and even muscle injuries.5

Plus, some spices can actually stop glycation (when a sugar molecule bonds with a protein or fat molecule) and formation of AGE compounds, which cause premature aging and heart disease.

Take advantage of these amazing benefits and use some spice in your food today. Let us know you’ve what added them to to create new possibilities.

Show 5 References

  1. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbp/. Accessed April 13, 2013.
  2. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbp/. Accessed April 13, 2013.
  3. Verma SK, Jain V, Katewa SS. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/hbp/prevent/sodium/flavor.htm Blood pressure lowering, fibrinolysis enhancing and antioxidant activities of cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum). Indian J Biochem Biophys. 2009;46(6):503-6.
  4. Available at: http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2010/dietaryguidelines2010.pdf). Accessed April 13, 2013.
  5. Vasanthi HR, Parameswari RP. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3083808/ spices for healthy heart – an overview. Curr Cardiol Rev. 2010;6(4):274-9.


  • Rajesh says:

    In India, we use spices not to decorate, but create a totally different taste out of a dish. In the west, for eg. you just eat a potato or beans as a vegetable enjoying/bearing its blunt taste. We use different spices, as powders / pastes / or as a whole, mix and cook with these vegetables / meat to make a completely different taste out.
    Some German friends pointed fingers at me - you dont know the real taste of this vegetable or that meat - your taste are always cooked up. Of course, but we get the added benefit of spices thereby, too.
    And please dont forget the therapy created by spices with their odour. I believe the smell alone, of many of our dishes, can bring down the stress factor and make it exciting for me.

  • Caroline says:

    Rajesh, Thank you for your comment. I love your point about spices being therapeutic! I believe that to be true myself.