Are There Specific Spices that Help Prevent Disease?

By Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N.

Yes. I could write a book about this topic but here’s the short version. Some spices contain important antioxidants properties. An antioxidant helps to prevent free radicals oxidative damage which can cause cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity and autoimmune diseases. Spices that may help prevent cancer: garlic, ginger, turmeric, rosemary, etc. Spices that may help prevent heart disease: cinnamon, garlic, ginger, oregano, thyme, etc. Spices that may help control diabetes: cinnamon, garlic, ginger, fenugreek, coriander, etc. Cinnamon helps to increase insulin sensitivity which may be effective in treating Type II Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome.  Spices that may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease: turmeric, rosemary, ginger, garlic. Spices that may influence obesity: chilies, garlic, fenugreek. Spices that may help control autoimmune diseases: bay leaf, black pepper, garlic, ginger, green tea, oregano, rosemary, thyme, turmeric. Superstar spices include: cinnamon, garlic, turmeric, and ginger.  I am a post menopausal woman. My physician suggested I use ½ teaspoon of cinnamon per day. Always check with your physician if you plan to use large doses of spices in a prophylactic manner.

Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N., is a registered dietitian with a Master’s Degree in clinical nutrition.  The former publisher of Kentuckiana HealthFitness Magazine, Kentuckiana Healthy Woman magazine and radio show host of Health News You Can Use, Barbara has over 30 years of experience in promoting healthy lifestyles to consumers.  Barbara worked as Nutrition Consultant to the Navy SEALs (8 years) and the University of Louisville Athletic Department (10 years). Barbara has private practice, DayByDay Nutrition,, where she counsels clients on weight loss, cholesterol management, performance nutrition and an array of other medical issues.  Visit Barbara’s new website which is an on-line health & wellness magazine, Barbara writes nutrition and health columns for as well as a weekly nutrition column for the Southeast Outlook. She also designs and presents employee wellness programs to small and large businesses. Barbara is a runner, cyclist, hiker and a mother and grandmother to 11 grandchildren.     

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