Dietitian Tips: Spice Up Your Life – The Health Benefits of Herbs and Spices

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Spices and herbs have been used as medicine for centuries. Some cultures with lower rates of chronic diseases use more spices than Westernized countries. Spices and herbs can replace substances that are unhealthy like salt, added sugars and even saturated fat. Most modern scientific studies of these benefits are relatively recent but their roots go back to ancient medicine.

What’s the difference between an herb and a spice?

  • Herbs, including basil and parsley, come from plants and plant parts
  • Spices comes from the seeds, berries, bark or roots of plants

How do spices and herbs benefit our health?

  • They contain antioxidants which have been shown to reduce inflammation
  • Reduced inflammation aids in disease prevention and treatment for conditions like heart disease, hypertension, memory loss, diabetes and cancer

Some of the healthiest herbs and spices are parsley, sage, rosemary, turmeric, ginger, saffron and chili pepper but there are many others with health-promoting properties.

What are you waiting for? It’s time to spice up your life!


Try making your own taco seasoning rather than buying a packet from the store with this recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin

In a small bowl, mix together. Add to food or store in an airtight container.

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