Last updated: December 17. 2013 10:14AM - 1574 Views
Lethia Lee EFNEP Program Assistant

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Spice up the holidays and boost your health with warm, bright spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. You can add further health benefits by combining those spices with foods like oranges and cranberries, or drinks like black tea. So, how will you add spice to the holidays this year? Cinnamon - whether you’re mulling cider or baking snicker doodles, cinnamon is a key ingredient to many holiday foods. But how can it improve your health?

Well, Cinnamon may have anti-inflammatory properties, adding your body’s resistance to both bacterial and fungal infections. It’s even been useful in battling yeast infections. Plus, according to Diabetics Care, cinnamon may help improve your blood glucose and blood lipid levels. Further research is needed, but the findings are promising.

Nutmeg is like cinnamon, it also has antibacterial properties. In fact, it can cut down on the bacteria that build up in your mouth and cause bad breath. Did you know that nutmeg and its oils could be ingredients in toothpaste?

Plus, nutmeg can ease digestive distress and reduce flatulence. Be sure to eat nutmeg in small doses - a little bit goes a long way and too much is quite bad for you.

Cranberries are the bee’s knees. According to NCCAM. Historically, cranberry fruits and leaves were used for a variety of problems, such as wounds, urinary disorders, diarrhea, diabetes, stomach ailments, and liver problems. More recently, cranberry has been used as a folk or traditional remedy for urinary tract infections (UTIs) or helicobacter pylori (H. Pylori) infections that can lead to stomach ulcers, or to prevent dental plaque. Cranberry has also been reported to have antioxidant and anticancer activity. Medline Plus backs up those statements. Research shows that drinking cranberry juice cocktail can help prevent repeated UTIs in older women and pregnant women. Additional research shows that drinking cranberry juice can also help prevent UTIs in hospitalized patients. Cranberry, as well as many other fruits and vegetables, contains significant amounts of salicylic acid, which can reduce swelling, prevent blood clots, and can have antitumor effects.

You should talk with your doctor or RDN before taking any herbal supplements. This information is only to encourage you to use spices in cooking - it is not intended to be health advice.

Information in this article was obtained from food and health communications web page.

For more information contact Lethia Lee, EFNEP Assistant with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service at 910-592-7161.

North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation. North Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.

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