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Most of us think about the food were eating quite often, and what effect it has on the body positive or negative. But too often we forget that spices can have huge health benefits as well, from the black pepper we see on every table to the most exotic options. Here are some spices that you should be incorporating into your diet and what sort of benefits they have.

Black Pepper

Black pepper can be used in pretty much any recipe out there, and it just so happens to be an incredibly healthy spice. Black pepper causes the digestive system to increase the output of hydrochloric acid which we need for digesting our food, so it can help to keep the digestive system happy and active. It also cuts down on the production of gas. Black pepper is also a great antioxidant and an antibacterial, and when you eat it alongside food it can help to stimulate the breakdown of fat cells. Go for freshly cracked black pepper for the best taste.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper gets its spicy sensation from the capsaicin it contains. In addition to making peppers hot, capsaicin also helps with circulation in the body, fights certain cancers, and can reduce muscle pain. Capsaicin is sometimes even added to external pain relief creams since it so effective. Add cayenne pepper to basically any meat dish out there, to add in some flavor and heat without overpowering.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is often found as an ingredients in sweets and baked goods, but in it’s basic form it is extremely good for you. Cinnamon has some of the highest antioxidant level of the spices, which cuts down on inflammation within the body, lowers the blood sugar which helps to stabilize cravings, aids in fat burning, and reduces nausea. It also kills bacteria so it can be used topically as well. Sprinkle cinnamon onto your oatmeal, into your coffee drinks, or for a sweet tasting effect in your smoothies and juices.

Turmeric

You can spot turmeric by its bright yellow color, the spice is often added to Indian dishes like curries and even some deli mustards and cheeses. The spice is so powerful as an antioxidant that it might be able to help reduce the occurrences of Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and cancer. It also provides pain relief that can rival over the counter doses of Ibuprofen. It is considered a strong anti-inflammatory as well as anti-bacterial, and helps the body to burn fat. Sprinkle it anywhere you want a savory spice taste added, or if you don’t love the taste you can find capsules of it to take as well.

Oregano

Oregano usually shines on pizza and other Italian food, but its true colors come out when you realize just how healthy it is. Oregano has antiviral, anticancer, antibacterial, antioxidant and antibiotic properties. It has been used to treat all kinds of things from coughs to fever and congestion. For the best results try to get it in its fresh form.