In the New Year, it's time to think about spices. They will not only help to "revive" any festive dish, but also have healing properties.

Useful spices that you should have at home if you are looking after your health

How many spices do you have in your kitchen cabinet? The standard set that our women use includes red and black pepper, bay leaf, vanilla, cinnamon, cumin and cloves. More advanced housewives add saffron, nutmeg, ginger and cardamom to this list. But in Georgia, dozens of spices are used, in India - about one and a half hundred! And not only to improve the taste of dishes, but also to improve health. So, if you get sick, do not rush to swallow the pills - remember the spices!


Vanilla is an orchid, from the unripe fruits of which a magical spice is obtained, named after a beautiful flower? The main wealth of vanilla is essential oil. Its sweet, alluring aroma eliminates insomnia, alleviates the manifestations of premenstrual syndrome, stimulates the breakdown of carbohydrates in the body, and helps to reduce weight. It also has a calming effect. So sometimes pamper yourself and loved ones with vanilla buns: thanks to its smell, the apartment becomes cozy and psychologically comfortable. 

What is combined with

  • cereals;
  • bakery products;
  • ice cream;
  • puddings;
  • creams;
  • sweet sauces and syrups;
  • tea.


To get just 1 tbsp. l. this spice, you need to sow the whole field with crocuses (and this is saffron)! Not only do they bloom only 2-3 weeks a year, but the bud, having opened, fades in 2-3 days: you need to have time to pick it, and certainly at dawn, and then manually remove the stigmas. That's why it's one of the most expensive spices in the world - $1,000 a kilo! True, you can’t eat so much of it in a year: to give a specific taste, aroma and characteristic dark yellow color to the dish, you only need a pinch of saffron. 

The healing properties of saffron have also been known for a long time. This spice has been used as a diuretic, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and tonic for cardiovascular disease, respiratory infections, gastrointestinal and kidney diseases. And today, scientists have found that saffron protects against cancer and prevents the development of pigmentary retinopathy - aging of the retina, due to which older people lose their sight. Do you suffer from hypertension? Add saffron to your diet - this spice contains substances that help normalize blood pressure .

What is combined with

  • rice, as well as pilaf and risotto;
  • soups; 
  • bakery products; 
  • cakes;
  • sauces; 
  • cream;
  • meat, fish and vegetable dishes.


Turmeric is one of the main components of curry (a popular Indian spice mix). The main value of this spice is curcumin, it is he who gives the curry a bright yellow color. 

Scientists from Australia have found that curcumin improves memory and reduces the risk of dementia. At the same time, it is enough to eat only 1 g of turmeric per day. The experiment involved 48 men and women with prediabetes over 60 years of age. Participants of one group ate 1 g of turmeric with bread for breakfast, the second (control) group - bread with 2 g of cinnamon. The scientists evaluated the volunteers' memory before and after meals. It turned out that turmeric significantly improved the working memory of older people. No improvement was noted in the control group. 

In addition, curcumin has anti-cancer effects. In one study, patients with colorectal cancer took a turmeric supplement (36–180 mg) daily for 4 months. As a result, 30% of the participants' condition stabilized, and one patient even showed signs of cancer regression. 

In laboratory tests, curcumin has also been shown to kill cancer cells in the breast, prostate, pancreas, stomach, colon, and esophagus.

Curcumin may be especially helpful for gastrointestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis. Curcumin also improves rheumatoid arthritis by reducing swelling and morning joint stiffness.

What is combined with

  • Indian biryani and curry;
  • homemade mustard;
  • Thai cuisine;
  • rice;
  • potatoes and sweet potatoes;
  • vegetable and meat meatballs;
  • paella with seafood, chicken, vegetables.


This spicy plant has been used since Roman times for many ailments, no wonder it was called "savior sage". Sage is now showing promise in research for mild Alzheimer's disease . Sage-based products are thought to improve brain function and reduce arousal.The secret to this is rosmarinic acid, which has been found to protect the brain and nervous system by preventing the formation of free radicals that accelerate aging and damage tissues. 

What is combined with

  • roast turkey, pork, lamb;
  • stuffing for pies;
  • homemade sausage;
  • casserole with meat and beans;
  • durum wheat pasta;
  • fish;
  • almost all vegetable dishes.


Cinnamon has many benefits. This spice perfectly improves mood, reduces inflammation, has a detrimental effect on bacteria, viruses and fungi, helps reduce blood pressure, improves bowel function and even fights tumors.

However, most of the evidence concerns its ability to regulate blood sugar levels, especially in mild to moderate type II diabetes .It has been observed that patients with this type of diabetes who took 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon per day lowered the levels of glucose (sugar) and various fats in the blood, such as triglycerides and LDL ("bad" cholesterol).Moreover, the effect was noticeable after a month of such “treatment”.

However, cinnamon not only helps regulate blood sugar levels, but also activates metabolism. And it plays an important role in weight loss.

What is combined with

  • oatmeal;
  • bananas;
  • dairy products, especially yogurts;
  • soups, for example, squash and pumpkin;
  • rice, quinoa, couscous;
  • lamb stew;
  • any dessert, especially with vanilla;
  • any drinks, especially coffee;
  • hot chocolate.


Ginger root is a staple in the cuisines of China, Japan, Korea and other Southeast Asian countries. And it has long been used in folk medicine against nausea and vomiting. By the way, scientists have proven that ginger works no worse than antiemetic drugs.

But the most interesting research concerns the ability of this plant to fight cancer. Test-tube experiments have shown that ginger extract causes the death of malignant prostate cancer cells and prevents their further growth. And animal experiments show that ginger-based products can reduce tumors without causing side effects. True, it should be borne in mind here that what works for isolated cells and animals may not have an effect on people.

What is combined with

  • freshly squeezed juices, especially apple and carrot;
  • curry;
  • pumpkin;
  • sweet potato;
  • vegetable dishes;
  • ice cream;
  • tea and mojito.

Hot peppers

In Russia, the first mention of pepper is found in the manuscript "The Sweet Flower, or Herbalist", dated 1616. It is noteworthy that even then they spoke of him as a medicine, and not as a spice. The alkaloid capsaicin gives bitterness to peppers. The more it is, the better for health! It reduces blood pressure, prevents the formation of blood clots, improves the condition of the heart and blood vessels, normalizes sleep and metabolism., stimulates appetite, including sexual, thanks to which pepper has long been known as an aphrodisiac. It also protects against cancer, has anti-inflammatory properties, and is effective for colds and bronchitis. But with diseases of the digestive tract, liver and kidneys, it is better to refuse pepper. Scientists were amazed to find that the alkaloid contained in pepper even kills the viable Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium that causes stomach and duodenal ulcers. Helicobacter feels great in an aggressive gastric environment, where microbes do not survive, but are afraid of red pepper!

But this does not mean that you need to eat hot peppers to your heart's content. Firstly, everything is good in moderation, and, secondly, it has contraindications. The pigments that give peppers their red color sometimes cause allergies. Abuse of it can cause gastrointestinal upset, and inept external use - burns. Pepper dishes and preparations based on it (capsicin and capsitrin) are contraindicated in diseases of the digestive tract, liver and kidneys.

What is combined with

  • curry;
  • sweet potato;
  • omelette;
  • shrimps;
  • beans;
  • vegetable soups;
  • vegetable, meat, fish casseroles.