Hacking Your Diet With Herbs and Spices

Turmeric: For Pain (and so, so much more)
Turmeric has been used for inflammatory conditions, and preliminary evidence from clinical trials suggests it could help with arthritis and certain digestive disorders.

Curcuminoids naturally present in turmeric may help reduce the number of heart attacks bypass patients had after surgery, and may control knee pain in osteoarthritis patients just as well as ibuprofen.

How to eat turmeric: add it to chicken salad, rice, seafood, roasted vegetables, marinades, and soup. You can drink it by way of turmeric lattes and teas. Fresh turmeric root resembles gingerroot, but is orange inside.


Ginger: For Nausea
While ginger root has been shown in some studies to help relieve nausea in people who are pregnant or on chemotherapy. Taken daily, up to 1 gram (about a 1/2 teaspoon) of ground ginger has been found to be effective for pregnant women. Other preliminary studies have explored daily doses of ginger reducing pain from osteoarthritis — however, more research needs to be done.

How to eat ginger: Add ground ginger or grated or minced ginger root to smoothies, stir-fries, burgers, and broths.


Garlic: For Your Heart
Eating garlic helps reduce the risk of certain kinds of cancer, it also helps reduce factors associated with heart disease. The World Health Organization’s garlic guidelines for general health promotion for adults includes getting about one clove of fresh garlic or 1/8 to 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder daily.

How to get it: Sauté minced garlic in pastas, stir-fries, soups, sauces, and anything with mushrooms. Use garlic powder as a seasoning like you would salt, in addition to using it in recipes like marinades, popcorn, salad dressings, and breading. Try pickled garlic if you’re feeling brave.


Cinnamon: For Your Cholesterol
Cinnamon has long been studied for its effects on blood sugars in patients with Type 2 diabetes. The trend among cinnamon has been an association with lower fasting blood sugar and improved lipid panels.
The amounts used in the studies ranged from roughly 1/16 teaspoon to 2 1/4 teaspoons per day for four to 18 weeks.

How to eat cinnamon: Shake liberally into coffee, oatmeal, and smoothies, and add to recipes with a Middle Eastern flavor profile. Throw a cinnamon stick into tea, since the beneficial part is water-soluble and not destroyed by heat.


Parsley: Instead of a Multivitamin
Fresh parsley is the epitome of fresh and healthy, with its bright greenness and vegetal aroma. If your eating preferences are more advanced than a three-year-old’s, but you’re too lazy to cook vegetables, just put parsley on everything. Two tablespoons of chopped raw parsley contain 16 percent of the Daily Value for vitamin C and 12 percent of the Daily Value for vitamin A.

How to eat parsley: Sprinkle coarsely chopped parsley on chicken, fish, and meatballs. Add whole or torn leaves to salads.