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Dying a Bland Death

Spices not only add flavor but have tremendous health-promoting properties

Dr Padma Garvey/Plant-Based Doctor Mom

Dying a Bland Death

Well to be honest a more appropriate title for this post could be The Health-Promoting Properties of Spices but that was too wordy.  Spices do more than just make food taste better.  Many spices have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and prodigestive properties to name a few.  A practical way to experience these health benefits is to have a go- to dish for every night of the week that showcases some wonderful spices.  I think it is always best to use these spices in cooking rather than taking them in large doses sold at health food stores.  Click on the suggested items below for the links to the recipes.


Turmeric powder is available in most grocery stores.  It comes from a root and is commonly used in Indian cooking.  Turmeric powder adds a pleasant yellow color to food and imparts a mild taste.  It contains an antioxidant called curcumin.  Free radicals are harmful chemicals that build up in our bodies and cause damage to our DNA and cells.  Antioxidants soak up free-radicals and inactivate them.  Turmeric seems to be good for arthritis, reducing cancer risk, and protecting your heart. 

You can make yourself a cup of ginger and turmeric tea every morning.  You can also make some Indian food once a week.  An easy recipe to start with would be Peas and Tofu Curry or Garbanzo Bean Curry



Ginger is a root that also contains curcumin.  It is very good for treating and preventing nausea.  Ginger is commonly used in Indian and Southeast Asian cooking.

Try making a stir fry one night a week or Chinese cold noodles.



Garlic contains a chemical called allicin.  Raw garlic is a powerful antibacterial agent.  In addition, garlic has antioxidant properties as well as helping keep our blood vessels dilated.  Because of this garlic seems to be good for cancer prevention, heart disease prevention, and stroke prevention.

Hummus is a great source of raw garlic.  You can put some on your bagel every morning. 

Try making homemade tomato sauce for a spaghetti dinner once a week.



This spice also has antioxidants in it so is good for cancer prevention and heart disease.  In addition, just one teaspoon of cumin has 20% of a woman’s daily iron needs.  So cuisines that use a lot of cumin like Indian food and Mexican food provide a lot of iron through just this spice.  Cumin is also good with keeping the gut moving and may help with diabetes.

Have a weekly taco dinner night with lots of salsa    or Roasted Indian Potatoes

Corinader or Cilantro

Coriander seeds produce cilantro.  Both the seed and the herb are very good at preventing cancer because they have antioxidants.  They also keep food fresh longer.  This spice is popular in Asian cusines and Latin American cusines

Have some  guacamole on your morning bagel or with carrots and celery sticks for lunch.  I have a traditional recipe and a quick version that takes 60 seconds to make.

Make an Asian cabbage slaw to go with tofu satay one night.


Chili pepper

Chili peppers contain a chemical called capcaisin.  It has antioxidant properties so it is good for cancer and heart disease.  In addition, it is very good at maintain good gut bugs.  A recent study in the British Journal of Medicine found that people who consumed chili peppers regularly were significantly less likely to die in any given year than people who did not consume chili peppers regularly.

So if you like your food hot and spicy, enjoy!  If you are not use to hot peppers, go slow.  You don’t have to eat to the point of fire alarm setting.

Bean chili is an easy crock pot dinner that lets you enjoy lots of spices including chili pepper.

Other articles by Padma Garvey