When it comes to healthy eating, the main ingredients of your dishes are only part of the equation. To add the richness and flavor that your taste buds crave, you might begin to explore more exotic spices to reduce your need for unhealthy additions like butter and salt. Not only will dried spices and fresh herbs add more appealing aromas to your food, but they can lend their own health benefits that will further improve the nutritional content of what you’re eating.

Turmeric

Known for its striking color, turmeric is a common ingredient in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking, and it lends a mild spiced flavor to each dish. In its whole form, turmeric is a root like ginger, and it can be peeled and ground into dishes or used in its more common dried, powdered form. Either way, be careful not to stain your hands or countertops with the strongly colored spice, and enjoy the benefits of potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that this versatile ingredient has to offer.

Saffron

Saffron is the most expensive spice, but fortunately it does not take much to flavor foods and tap into its medicinal properties. Traditionally, saffron is used as a mood lifter, and it has been known to relieve PMS symptoms in women.

Ginger

If you have ever had nausea or an upset stomach, chances are someone has suggested ginger tea or ginger ale to calm your tummy. That’s because ginger is highly effective for soothing stomach upset, and it may also fight arthritis and protect the joints thanks to compounds called gingerols, which fight inflammation.

Epazote

In most regions outside of the Southwest, epazote can only be found dried, but it is no less effective as a source of folic acid as well as calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. This unique herb has a slight licorice flavor, and it is the perfect addition to any Latin American dish. Its most common use is as an aromatic in refried beans, as epazote is known to reduce their gassy effects.

Chili Powder

Chili powder is available in an array of flavors, made from ground chilies of all varieties. Some are sweeter while some pack a huge punch of heat, and others are smoked to bring out the earthy, savory aspects of their aromas. With any chili powder, you can add an exhilarating kick to your food while enjoying the metabolism-boosting benefits of capsaicin.

When you’re looking for quick fixes for your health, MeMD can cut out the leg work of finding an urgent care clinic or trying to make an appointment with your primary physician. We make it easy to have a doctor’s visit online so you can get on with your day and spend more time doing the things you love—like experimenting in the kitchen.

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