The favorite fall dessert, pumpkin pie, comes packed with a number of health benefits. For all of you who didn’t know, a single slice of pumpkin pie provides about a quarter of the daily fiber requirements for adults. Plus, it packs more than the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which is especially beneficial for your eyesight and immune system, as well potassium, vitamin C and iron, which are great mood boosters. According to nutritionists at the National Institutes of Health, regular consumption of carotenoids, yellow and orange vegetables like pumpkins and squash, can considerably reduce the risk of cancer. And, that’s not all. Pumpkin pie is not simply pumpkin. It normally comes with a variety of healthy spices including cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, and allspice, all of which can do wonders for your health. Let’s look at some of their health benefits.
One of the most delicious spices there is, cinnamon has been around for thousands of years. It’s made from the inner bark of the cinnamomum tree, which forms strips that curl into rolls when dried. The sticks can also be ground to form cinnamon powder.
The active compound, cinnamaldehyde, found in large quantities in the oily parts of cinnamon, is what gives this spice its unique smell and flavor. This compound also accounts for most of cinnamon’s health benefits, including:
– high amount of powerful anti-oxidants, such as polyphenols, which protect the body from oxidative damage incurred by free radicals;
– anti-inflammatory properties which prevent infections and heal tissue damage;
– it decreases LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, thus reducing the risk of heart disease;
– it lowers blood sugar levels, thus considerably reducing insulin resistance, which in turn prevents serious conditions like metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes;
– it has positive effects on neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s;
– it prevents the development of cancer;
– it has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which reduce infections and prevent tooth decay and bad breath, and
– it may potentially fight HIV-1, the main type of HIV virus in humans.
Abundant in nutrients and bioactive compounds, ginger is one of the most health-beneficial spices on earth. Gingerol, the active ingredient in ginger, is what accounts for most of its medicinal properties along with its distinct fragrance and flavor. A common ingredient in many recipes, ginger can be used fresh, dried, powdered, or as an oil or juice. Plus, it has a long tradition of use in alternative medicine.
The most important healing properties of ginger include:
– it’s extremely beneficial for preventing various types of nausea including morning sickness, sea sickness, chemotherapy-related nausea, and nausea after surgery;
– it’s effective in reducing muscle pain and soreness, as well as symptoms of osteoarthritis;
– it can significantly reduce blood sugar levels and heart disease factors in patients with type 2 diabetes;
– it’s beneficial for people with indigestion and related stomach discomfort;
– it can alleviate menstrual pain, especially if taken at the beginning of the period;
– it considerably reduces LDL cholesterol and blood triglyceride levels;
– it can potentially fight cancer;
– it can inhibit age-related damage to the brain and at the same time improve brain function in elderly women;
– it can help fight infections due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Native to islands near Indonesia, nutmeg has now become a globally used spice. This slightly sweet spice is the seed of the tree highly valued for the essential oils that are derived from the tree and leaves. Due to its nutritive content of vitamins, minerals, and organic compounds related to the essential oils, nutmeg is commonly used in alternative medicine. Nutmeg is rich in dietary fiber, manganese, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate, magnesium, copper, and macelignan. Some of its health benefits include:
– it relieves pain from wounds, injuries, strains, and chronic inflammation from conditions like arthritis;
– it improves digestion and reduces the frequency and discomfort of constipation and other intestinal issues;
– it reduces the degradation of neural pathways and cognitive function that normally appear in people suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease;
– its active ingredients have the ability to dissolve kidney stones, and increase overall function and efficiency of the kidney and liver;
– its antibacterial properties are highly beneficial against bad breath;
– it provides relief from insomnia due to its high magnesium content;
– it can potentially kill leukemia cancer cells;
– it improves skin quality, and
– it reduces blood pressure and improves circulation.
Originating in South Asia and East Africa, clove is the dried bud of an evergreen plant growing in tropical and subtropical climates. Cloves have long been used not only as a spice, but also as a natural treatment for a number of health conditions.
Cloves pack a high content of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, and zinc. Plus, they’re abundant in vitamin C, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, and vitamins B6, B12, A, E, D, and K. The healing properties of cloves include:
– they improve digestion;
– they contain antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-cancer properties;
– they regulate blood sugar levels;
– they preserve bone density and the mineral content of bones;
– they improve the immune system;
– they have potent anti-inflammatory properties;
– they’re highly beneficial for oral health, and
– they treat headaches quickly and effectively.
The product of a big evergreen tree thriving in the Caribbean islands, the essential allspice oil is extracted by steam distillation of its leaves and fruits. Its health benefits are numerous and versatile:
– it relieves pain from neuralgia, bone and muscle injuries, insect bites and stings;
– it improves blood circulation and digestion;
– it relieves indigestion and bloating;
– it prevents infections and bacteria proliferation in the body;
– it treats headaches, colds and sinusitis, and
– it’s rich in antioxidant properties.