HealthSwap salt for these 12 spices: Boosting health and well-being has never tasted better

Swap salt for these 12 spices: Boosting health and well-being has never tasted better

Oregano is one of the healthiest spices in the world.
Oregano is one of the healthiest spices in the world.
Images source: © Licensor | Moskow

11:03 AM EST, January 15, 2024

Spicy ginger has been a staple in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Bioactive compounds, including gingerols, give it anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

A comprehensive meta-analysis published last year covered 24 studies on the health benefits of this spice. It found that ginger positively influences blood sugar and lipid levels, degenerative joint disease, blood pressure, weight control, and inflammation.


Oregano is earthy and contains plant compounds such as terpenes, thymol, and carvacrol, known for their strong antioxidant properties. It has a history of being used to treat indigestion, coughs, diarrhea, and bronchial inflammation.

A 2023 study involving 24 soldiers showed that those who consumed 0.018 ounces of powdered oregano after a strenuous fitness test had decreased markers of muscle damage and oxidative stress in their blood. They also had increased antioxidant levels compared to those who took a placebo.

This suggests that adding oregano to your diet may reduce fatigue, exhaustion, headaches, drowsiness, loss of concentration, and muscle weakness.


Saffron, the world's most expensive spice, houses more than 150 active ingredients like crocin, picrocrocin, safranal, lycopene, kaempferol, zeaxanthin, and beta-carotene. The spice influences the concentration of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin in the brain, thus showing potential antidepressant and anxiety-relieving effects. It is used in treating ailments like schizophrenia, heart diseases, Alzheimer's disease, and type 2 diabetes. Additionally, it lowers cortisol levels while raising estrogen levels.


Ceylon cinnamon is spicy and packed with health-promoting compounds. The presence of cinnamaldehyde, coumarin, cinnamic acid, and eugenol gives it antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.


Cardamom contains phenolic compounds and essential oils, known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, blood pressure-lowering, and anti-diabetic effects.

A 2021 review suggests that cardamom may positively affect blood sugar levels, inflammatory markers, and aid in the reduction of liver fat.


Garlic could potentially protect heart health. A 2021 study, encompassing data from 4329 adults, showed that those who consumed raw garlic - from one to three times weekly - had thinner inner and middle layers of the carotid artery (cIMT).

cIMT is an early indicator of arterial atherosclerosis and is used to assess the risk of diseases associated with it.


Rosemary contains rosmarinic acid and other compounds known for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, analgesic, and anti-tumor effects.

Some studies suggest that drinking rosemary tea may offer benefits to those dealing with anxiety and depression.


Turmeric and its main active ingredient, curcumin, have been linked to a plethora of health benefits including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anticancer properties.

Turmeric may effectively treat degenerative joint disease, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), ulcerative colitis, and type 2 diabetes. It also improves cognitive functions and protects against their future deterioration.


Nutmeg, much like saffron, contains antioxidants and psychoactive components that increase the levels of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, giving it an antidepressant effect.


Active compounds found in sage, like rosmarinic acid, camphor, luteolin, apigenin, and quercetin give the plant powerful therapeutic properties.

Studies show that sage acts as a natural inhibitor of acetylcholinesterase (AChE), an enzyme responsible for breaking down acetylcholine (ACh), an essential neurotransmitter. This makes ACh more available in the brain, potentially improving memory and concentration.

Using sage as a supplement improves cognitive functions, mood, alertness, attention, memory, and word recall in both healthy individuals and those with Alzheimer's disease.


Aromatic parsley is rich in vitamin C, carotenoids, and flavonoids, substances known for their protective and anti-inflammatory effects on cells.

Diet rich in these substances may help protect against cognitive decline, heart diseases, and mortality from various causes.

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