Spices may just look like colorful dust, but their impact on your food is—as you’ve surely noticed—powerful! Often underestimated, spices are actually an important part of your food prep. Here are a few reasons why, and ways you can better incorporate them into your meal to take advantage of those valuable benefits.

They Have Health Benefits

Those small particles of ground-up leaves, flowers, roots and more are each particles of useful nutrients your body can benefit from. In fact, for centuries spices have been used as natural remedies for a variety of health concerns. Many spices have specific benefits for specific parts of the body—for example, cinnamon can help lower blood sugar while peppermint reduces nausea, and basil and turmeric can help the immune system. Rosemary may be used to help clear sinuses, and garlic has a long list of benefits from heart health to muscle health to general health. Boost the health benefits of your meals by simply adding some spices to their prep.

Makes Vegetables Taste Better

Not only are spices a way to boost the health-value of foods, they also taste amazing. Enhance or change up the flavors of those bland or bitter veggies! Throw a rich, sweet complimenting spice like cinnamon or nutmeg onto sweeter veggies like carrots or sweet potatoes. Add some sage or basic or rosemary to regular potatoes for a fresher feel. Leafy greens vegetables are naturally alkaline and help counteract acid in foods… toss some of those green veggies like broccoli, asparagus, brussel sprouts or peas in thyme, oregano, parsley, and garlic to turn up the savory and rich flavors that are sure to get your mouth watering! Explore your options and enjoy experimenting with ways to take your veggies to the next level (so you’ll actually enjoy them and not just tolerate them!)

No Negative Additions

Best of all, spices offer all those nutrients and all that flavor with no extra calories. No concerning carbohydrates or fats that make up those sauces or stews or gravy’s you would usually douse your food in to give it that flavor you want. You can achieve incredible foods without those calorie-rich, hard to handle extras. Really, spices offer nothing but benefits to your plate!

So start with the basics: collect those spices that will work well with everything, and then don’t be afraid to branch out and try new recipes with new spices! You will be pleasantly surprised at the differences they can make for your meals and for your body.

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