5-Minute Health Tip: Flavor It Up with Apple Pie Spice

grinding spicesApple pie spice is the perfect ingredient for warm winter dishes and fireside chats. And it’s infused with several anti-aging health boons! Made with the warming spices ginger, cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, nutmeg, and clove, apple pie spice is a treasure trove of anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antiseptic benefits. Let’s break the health merits down one-by-one with its all-star players.

Ginger

Ginger has been praised for centuries as an anti-inflammatory powerhouse that helps to keep your heart healthy and your arteries free of plaque by lowering levels of LDL “bad” cholesterol and preventing oxidation. It strengthens the immune system, warding off those winter colds and flus, and offers antibacterial support against fungi. And let’s not forget its most popular medicinal quality as a potent digestive aid and nausea inhibitor!

Cinnamon

The anti-inflammatory properties of cinnamon are far-reaching, but are notably effective for alleviating the muscle and joint pain symptomatic of arthritis. Cinnamon has also been shown to help prevent gum disease, tooth decay, and urinary tract infections, and defend against harmful bacteria like E.coli. It helps protect against heart disease and diabetes by lowering blood glucose levels, triglycerides, AIC levels, and increasing insulin sensitivity.

Allspice

Otherwise known as Jamaican pepper or pimento, allspice is packed with vitamin A, vitamin B-6, riboflavin, vitamin C, niacin, iron, copper, selenium, manganese, magnesium, and potassium. It helps optimize the function of the gastrointestinal tract by promoting gut motility. Allspice is a noted anti-aging herb, as well. An in vitro (test tube) study published in the January 2011 edition of Natural Products Research showed that eugenol, one of the main compounds in allspice, was incredibly effective at neutralizing free radicals that cause oxidative damage to cells. Eugenol also demonstrated metal-binding capabilities, which means allspice could aid in eliminating heavy metals like mercury and lead from the body.

Cardamom

What gives chai tea its remarkably warm and spicy flavor? Cardamom! In Asia, cardamom is prized for its ability to boost circulation and enhance energy. In the Middle East, it’s used as an aphrodisiac. Research shows it also helps improve digestion and treat asthma, halitosis and bronchitis, and it’s a proven mood enhancer. While cardamom lends a nice dose of vitamins A, C, B-6, riboflavin, calcium, potassium, zinc, magnesium, thiamin, fiber and iron, it is most celebrated for its manganese content. Just one tablespoon of cardamom delivers 80% of the recommended daily allowance of manganese!

Nutmeg

A tissue culture study of human skin published in Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin highlighted a particularly effective anti-aging compound in nutmeg—macelignan. Macelignan was found to shield cells from ultraviolet radiation by suppressing activity of destructive enzymes, as well as stimulating collagen production. Other research shows that nutmeg can help alleviate digestive troubles. It also contains an ingredient called myristicin, which helps the brain stay sharp and defends against degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Cloves

Cloves have the highest ORAC score (which means they contain the most antioxidants) of any other spice! Dr. Mercola has dubbed cloves “cinnamon on steroids” because they offer even more muscle pain and joint relief! Highly concentrated in eugenol, cloves act as an anesthetic for sore throats, toothaches, and gum pain, and also help to cure respiratory ailments like bronchitis and asthma. A May 2012 report in the journal Molecules praises cloves for their antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties. Adding ¼ of a teaspoon to your meals each day may even help protect your heart due to the compound capsaicin.

 Whip Up Some Homemade Apple Pie Spice

 The measurements below are loose suggestions. Adjust amounts to your taste buds’ liking!

  • 1 ½ teaspoons ginger
  • 4 tablespoons cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoons clove
  • 1 tablespoon allspice

Mix the ingredients together and store in an airtight glass container to enjoy at your leisure!

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