While we’ve always used spices to finesse the flavors in our food, it’s become more widely known lately that fresh spices, just like whole grains and vegetables, offer many health benefits.
While herbs are generally the green leaves of fragrant plants, spices are derived from a variety of sources, including the seeds, bark, stems or roots of pungent plants. Herbs and spices have long been used medicinally and to aid in digestion, and science continues to verify the beneficial effects. Here are a few examples:
Buying spices from bulk sources allows you to buy small quantities so that you can experiment with your flavor preferences. It also allows you to keep a fresher-quality product on hand. Spices should always be stored in a cool, dry place. They will stay fresh for up to two years if purchased whole and up to one year if purchased ground.
So next time you set out to create a satisfying meal, use spices strategically — not just to stimulate your palate, but also to enhance your health!
By Debra Boutin, MS, RD, Clinic Nutrition Coordinator, Bastyr Center for Natural Health
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