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The 6 Best Spices to Use in Your Blasts

Editor's Note: This is a contribution by Krista Haynes, R.D.
 
Sometimes, I get in a rut. My NutriBlasts are starting to all taste the same - maybe it’s because it’s wintertime and produce options are a bit limited...  
 
But, realistically, I live in California. Winter is pretty much non-existent and I have no excuse. But neither do you! Variety IS the spice of life! And that’s just it, we have to SPICE it up. We often forget about these powerful little boosts of nutrition. Surprisingly, some herbs and spices hold more antioxidants and nutritional benefits than various fruits and veggies.
Cinnamon
 
One of the more familiar spices in the bunch, cinnamon adds a nice nostalgic spin on the traditional NutriBlast. I usually suggest cinnamon for those looking to sweeten up a recipe without adding any sugary ingredients. 
 
Cinnamon pairs well with bananaapplepumpkinberrieschocolateoranges,pearspeachessweet potatomangooats, and mocha/coffee.  
 
Its most notable health benefits include supporting healthy blood sugar levels, boosting mood, and acting as an anti-inflammatory. It's also a powerful antioxidant, supports heart health, helps reduce intestinal gas, contains pain-reducing properties and may improve blood flow and circulation. 
 
Learn more about this super antioxidant spice here
 
Did you know that there are actually two different types of cinnamon commonly available in the grocery store? Ceylon cinnamon and the more common cassiacinnamon. Diabetes educator Jeannene Davis notes the difference in her articleThe Lowdown on Cinnamon and Diabetes
Turmeric
 
For the past four months, I’ve been battling bursitis in my shoulder. Anything ending in "itis" refers to “inflammation of” and when I hear inflammation, I automatically think of turmeric. This powerful spice contains a substance calledcurcumin that is responsible for turmeric’s bright yellow color and inflammation-reducing magic. 
 
Turmeric pairs well with beanslentilssweet potatocelerycoconutleafy greens,carrotsbeets, and broccoli
 
Its most notable health benefits include serving as an anti-inflammatory, easing gastrointestinal upset and boosting immunity. It's also rich in antioxidants, anti-carcinogenic properties and helps nourish the skin.  
 
Learn about cancer-survivor Shari Pack's love of turmeric here or watch Dr. Gregor explain how curcumin may help block cancer proliferation here.
 
Are you a visual learner? This educational infographic may be just what you’re looking for!
Ginger
 
Whenever I get an upset stomach or feel a bit nauseous, I drink ginger tea for its soothing properties. About a year ago, I started using a small slice of fresh ginger in my NutriBlast recipes and WOW, let me tell you, I’ve never tasted anything quite so nice! It gives you a jolt of warming spice that also lends a refreshing aftertaste.  
 
Ginger pairs well with cinnamonchocolatemintmangocarrotspumpkinsweet potatomelontomatopeachpearbananaapplecitrus fruitsnuts and pineapple. You can also find ginger in our Superfood Fat Burning Boost.
 
Its most notable health benefits include anti-nausea properties, anti-bacteria properties and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps soothe the stomach, works as a natural antacid, suppresses coughs, and helps improve digestive health.   
 
Basil
 
When I think of basil, I automatically think of fresh Italian pasta and homemade pasta sauce, which absolutely require fresh basil! There are actually different types of basil out there - the aromatic one we are all used to is known as sweet basilHoly basil or Thai basil is another option that has been used for centuries in Eastern religious practices, as well as medicine for relief of anxiety or stress and colds and flu.    
 
Basil pairs well with tomato, green vegetables, beetsstrawberrymeloncoconut,grapefruitorangesweet potatozucchini and pineapple.
 
Most notable health benefits include helping boost your mood, reverse the signs of aging, reduce stress and normalize blood sugar levels. It also serves as an antibacterial, antifungal and is rich in antioxidants.
Mint 
 
There’s a reason it’s called the “after dinner mint!” The refreshing taste alone is not what gives your mints or toothpaste their healful powers. This powerful herb actually helps settle the stomach and primes it for proper digestion. While most people only enjoy fresh mint in a mint julep or a mojito, try a healthy cocktail made in your NutriBullet, instead! Try our Pineapple Detox Blast to get you started.
 
 
Most notably, mint helps reduce stomach cramps, reduce symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), serves as an antispasmodic, topically helps reduce headache and reduces indigestion.   
Cayenne pepper
 
Not for the faint of heart or those sensitive to heart burn, this spice sure will wake up your taste buds! In addition to revving up your energy, it will help boost your metabolism into high gear. Just be sure not to overdo it; about 1/8 of a teaspoon is a good place to start. As you’ll see in this Avocado Banana Cayenne Blast recipe, just a pinch is all you need!
 
Cayenne pairs well with chocolatecarrotsbeetsleafy greensbeansavocado,banana and berries
 
Cayenne serves as an anti-inflammatory, reduces congestion and sinus pressure, helps boost metabolism and can help reduce pain if used topically.

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Tags: 6, Best, Spices, basil, cayenne, cinnamon, ginger, mint, pepper, turmeric

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Comment by Henriette Matthijssen on April 21, 2014 at 8:52pm

Thanks for the post Anna.

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