Forever Young Spice Collection
Common spices can protect against the ravages of aging. A recent study shows certain spices are potent preventers of heart disease and premature aging. Our top 8 herbs and spices that slow down aging include: cloves, cinnamon, allspice, oregano, pumpkin pie spice, marjoram, sage, and thyme.
Any molecule in your body is capable of causing damage, but probably the most damaging of all are glucose and other sugar molecules. Sugars cause more inflammation that leads to heart disease and more damage than cholesterol could ever hope to.
How Does High Blood Sugar Cause Tissue Damage and Heart Disease?
Glucose and other sugar molecules cause glycation; a process in which the sugar bonds with proteins and form so-called advanced glycation end products, or AGEs. It’s a fitting acronym as it – along with oxidation -- is one of the major molecular mechanisms whereby damage accrues in your body, which leads to disease, aging, and eventually, death.
When sugar glycates it creates inflammation, which activates your immune system in a defensive manoeuvre. Macrophages are scavenger cells that are part of your immune defense system, and as such they have special receptors for AGEs, aptly called RAGEs (think: raging inflammation). These RAGEs bind to the AGEs and get rid of them. Unfortunately, this process can leave its fair share of battle scars.
Essentially, when you consume excess sugar you tend to produce and accumulate AGEs, which frequently lead to raging inflammation, which leads to damage in your arteries. The damage control ultimately takes its toll and you begin to form scar tissue, which inside your arteries is called plaque. And, voila – Heart Disease!
This is why there’s such a strong correlation between diabetes and heart disease – and shortened lifespan. People with Type 2 diabetes get heart disease about 15 years earlier than non-diabetics, and also lose about 18 years from their expected life span, according to findings from hospital and death records of close to 9.5 million Canadians.
How Common Spices Can Protect Against Heart Disease and the Ravages of Aging A study published in the current issue of the Journal of Medicinal Foods found a strong and direct correlation between the phenol content of common herbs and spices and their ability to inhibit glycation and the formation of AGE compounds, making them potent preventers of heart disease and premature aging.
Herbs and spices have very low calorie content, they’re relatively inexpensive, and they’re a great way to turbo-boost the natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory power of your diet! Tons of benefits and zero hazardous side effects. It doesn’t get any better than that, which is why I keep advocating for the return to a healthy whole food diet that is tailored for your individual biochemistry, rather than stocking up on a cabinet-full of (often synthetic) supplements.
Our Anti-aging Spice Collection consists of the top 8 herbs and spices that prevent aging:
Cloves (ground), Cinnamon (ground), Jamaican allspice (ground), Oregano (ground), Pumpkin pie spice (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, allspice), Marjoram, Sage , and Thyme
- Allspice: Allspice is also appreciated for its medicinal properties. Jamaicans use it as a remedy for stomach-aches and colds, while the Guatemalans make a revitalizing tea from the leaves of the allspice plant. The consumption of allspice with meals can result in stronger digestion, can reduce gas and bloating, and can ease nausea. Allspice also has blood sugar regulating effects making it a great flavoring agent to use to control appetite and prevent wild, unhealthy swings in your blood sugar levels. This can be particularly helpful if you are trying to tame your appetite in an effort to lose weight.
- Cinnamon: A great source of fiber, cinnamon is available all-year long and as a fragrant spice it is commonly used in various foods and drinks. It has special healing abilities which come from the spice's bark. The bark contains three types of essential oils that help to inhibit clotting and control blood sugar. It is also an extremely powerful antioxidant that prevents oxidation more effectively than almost all other spices. One teaspoon of ground cinnamon has the equivalent level of antioxidants as a half cup of blueberries and one cup of pomegranate juice. Just think of all the foods to which you add cinnamon!
- Cloves: Stimulating, carminative, aromatic. It is given as powder or an infusion for nausea, vomiting, flatulence, languid indigestion and dyspepsia. The volatile oil contains the medicinal properties and it is a strong germicide, antiseptic and a local irritant. It has been used as an expectorant to aid bronchial troubles.
- Oregano: Oregano has potent anti-oxidant activity. It contains numerous phytonutrients - including thymol and rosmarinic acid - that have also been shown to function as potent antioxidants that can prevent oxygen-based damage to cell structures throughout the body.In laboratory studies, oregano has demonstrated stronger anti-oxidant capacity than either of the two synthetic anti-oxidants commonly added to processed food BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) and BHA (butylated bydroxyanisole).
- Marjoram: Its healing properties include: fighting asthma; headaches; and soothing the stomach and digestive tract. It acts as a decongestant and useful in bronchitis, sinusitis and sinus headaches. It is also used to soothe the nerves, reduce tension and stress; especially environmental. One of the components in marjoram is the flavonoids which help to relieve insomnia, tension headaches and migraines.
- Sage: Modern research has shown that sage, while not a panacea, can help reduce excessive perspiration, digestive problems, sore throats, premenstrual cramps, and high blood sugar. Sage has a long history of use as a treatment for gastrointestinal disorders. It has been shown to help relax muscle spasms in the digestive tract, and is approved by Commission E for treatment of indigestion. One German study has found that drinking a sage infusion reduced blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, but only when they took the infusion on an empty stomach.
- Thyme: Contains anti-cancer potency. It's also long been used as an antiseptic. It is also reputed to get rid of phlegm and has been used to treat catarrh and sore throat and associated shortness of breath, using an infusion made with 1 oz. of the fresh herb in a pint of hot water.
- Pumpkin Pie Spice: Blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, allspice. Refer to above for health benefits of cinnamon, cloves and allspice.
- Nutmeg: It can help lower blood pressure and sooth a stomach ache as well as stop diarrhea and help to detoxify the body. Nutmeg has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used to treat joint and muscle pain. Heart problems may also be somewhat alleviated by nutmeg, as it can help increase blood circulation and stimulate the cardio-vascular system. It Is also great for your digestion. It can get rid of both gas and stomach aches and can relieve vomiting, diarrhea, and flatulence as well as encourage appetite
- Ginger: Ginger's health-promoting constituents include gingerols, shogaols, beta-carotene, capsaicin, caffeic acid, curcumin and salicylate. Scientific evidence supports its potential for fighting nausea associated with pregnancy, motion sickness and post surgery. Epidemiologic and experimental data also suggests that ginger has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may lower the risk of cancer and inflammatory disease. Used in spice cookies and cakes.
Allspice is also a great natural remedy for mild pain relief. This versatile spice features in several classic Jamaican recipes the most popular being Jerk seasoning, besides being a major ingredient in a variety of curries, desserts and soups. It even finds use in pickling and baking.
A hot beverage or tea made from allspice to relieve pain caused by menstrual cramps, mild headaches, muscle and joint soreness, arthritis, and toothaches.
Studies have shown that 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol and may help treat Type 2 Diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels and increasing the amount of insulin production in the body.
Cinnamon has also shown an ability to stop medication-resistant yeast infections and reduce the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells. At Copenhagen University, patients given ½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month. It has been also found to be an effective natural remedy for eliminating headaches and migraine pain
Uses: Add ½ to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to the batter of French toast or waffles. Commonly used in cakes and baked goods, milk and rice puddings, chocolate dishes and fruit desserts. It may be used to spice mulled wines, ciders, creams and syrups. Simmer cinnamon sticks with soymilk and honey for a deliciously warming beverage. Adding ground cinnamon to black beans to be used in burritos or nachos will give them a uniquely delicious taste. Add ground cinnamon when preparing curries. Ground cinnamon can also be added to coffee or tea.
Helps stimulate sluggish circulation and thereby promote digestion and metabolism. Cloves promote enzymatic flow and boost digestive functioning. antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiseptic properties. They are also a natural anesthetic (due to the eugenol oil) and was often used for dental procedures in the past and is still used in some cultures to remedy toothaches. Cloves are a great spice to heal ailments of the digestive system, and are well known for relieving flatulence and can actually help promote good digestion as well as metabolism. They may also help relieve vomiting and diarrhea as well as a host of other digestive disorders.
Used in spice cookies and cakes. Chutneys. Use in curries. German bread. Flavoring onions. In marinades. Tomato based soups. Use whole in pilafs. A basic component of garam masala.
Additionally, on a per gram fresh weight basis, oregano has demonstrated 42 times more antioxidant activity than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges and 4 times more than blueberries. Use oregano to add a delicate flavor to salad dressings, garlic bread, and omelets, as well as your favorite pastas
Promoting healthy digestion and treating simple gastrointestinal disorders, such as loss of appetite, indigestion, nausea and flatulence is another benefit in using marjoram. The flavonoids may also promote healthy arteries and heart by preventing cholesterol buildup and improving blood circulation. It is also thought to help individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.
Containing anti-inflammatory properties, marjoram can be used internally or externally. It alleviates aches and pains and when used externally, aids in the reduction of toothaches, muscular pain, bruises, arthritis, sprains and stiff joints. Used internally, it eases severe stomach cramps, spasms and painful menstruation.
Marjoram makes excellent stuffing for chicken and turkey roasts. It makes an attractive garnish for bean and pea soups, and enhances the flavor of carrot and squash when cooked with it. It also works well with cheese and egg dishes. Marjoram is considered to be one of the rare herbs whose flavor intensifies when dried. It is also used in homemade sausages and meats that are to be cured or smoked. Marjoram also works well in combination with other herbs in spice blends. This soothing herbal flavor can be enjoyed as a tea by sprinkling water over a few sprigs of marjoram.
For homebrewed sage tea, use 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried leaves per cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes, then strain. Use this infusion as a gargle for sore throat or as a mouthwash for gingivitis. You can also drink up to 3 cups a day to improve digestion and help regulate blood sugar. People with diabetes should consult their doctor.
Other conditions it has been credited with alleviating are sciatica, gout, headaches and rheumatic pain. Thyme is said to aid digestion of fats, making it an excellent complement for any recipes using oils and fats It makes it into grilled poultry, fish, and meat marinades by virtue of its minty, lemony flavor. If you've got a fresh bunch, mince some into your vinaigrette.