As parents, we know that fall is a special time of year. The changing leaves, cozy sweaters, and the aroma of pumpkin spice wafting through the air mark the arrival of a season filled with warmth and comfort. While we often associate pumpkin pie spices with delicious treats, did you know that they also offer an array of health benefits, making them a valuable addition to our family's well-being? Spices, in general, have medicinal benefits, with many having anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory compounds. Let’s explore how pumpkin pie spices can contribute to not only your taste buds' delight but also your family's health.
Cinnamon: Blood Sugar Control and Immunity Boost
Cinnamon, a quintessential spice in pumpkin pie, can be a valuable addition to your family's diet. I add it to our granola, sprinkle it in oatmeal and add it to baked goods. Of note, there are different kinds of cinnamon, with Ceylon considered the "true cinnamon" and the one with more health benefits.. Here's a couple of the many health benefits:
Blood Sugar Control
Cinnamon has been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels. It can increase insulin sensitivity and improve the body's ability to transport glucose into cells, reducing the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
Protection from Infections
Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants, which help the body fight oxidative stress. It also has antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties, including from a compound called Cinnamaldehyde. Consuming cinnamon can help bolster your family's immune system, keeping common colds at bay and ensuring your little ones stay healthy.
Nutmeg: Digestive Harmony and Cognitive Support
Nutmeg, is a seed with a slightly nutty flavor that can be used to flavor many dishes, desserts, and cold weather drinks, like apple cider. You can buy it whole or already ground. I also add this spice to our granola and zucchini muffins, which are consumed on the regular in our house. In addition, it's great added to butternut squash soup or sweet potatoes. Nutmeg brings its own set of family-friendly benefits:
Nutmeg can help alleviate tummy discomfort, and has been studied as a remedy for pain and diarrhea, making it an essential spice for parents who want to ease their children's occasional digestive issues.
Nutmeg has been used traditionally to boost brain health. Evidence is limited here but due to it’s anti-inflammatory compounds it may enhance brain health and it also has compounds that enhance neurotransmitter functions in the brain and nervous system, which is essential for brain functions like learning and memory.
Ginger: Aiding Digestion and Soothing Sore Throats
Ginger, is a versatile spice in the pumpkin pie blend. It’s a warming spice that is great in baked goods, but also can be added to stir-frys, stuffed squash and curries. It has advantages for parents and kids alike:
Ginger can help ease the occasional stomach upset in children, making it a valuable tool in your parental toolkit.
Soothing Sore Throats
When cold and flu season hits, ginger's anti-inflammatory properties can provide relief from sore throats and coughs. When your child has a sore throat you can try giving them ginger tea with honey or adding some fresh ginger to a smoothie.
Cloves: Antioxidant Power and Nutrient Boost
Don't overlook the small but mighty cloves. They can be added to baked goods like other spices listed, but also added to meats, drinks like chai tea, rice dishes and curries. They have a lot of health benefits to offer. Here are a few:
Cloves have some of the highest antioxidant activity, helping the body reduce oxidative stress, reducing the risk of many diseases. And one of it’s antioxidants, Eugenol, is a natural anesthetic, which has been used to treat toothaches for hundreds of years.
They provide essential nutrients, like vitamin C, vitamin A, and manganese, supporting your family's overall health.
Allspice: Family-Friendly Anti-Inflammatory and Digestive Aid
Allspice has a strong and distinct flavor, so a little bit goes a long way. In addition to being a key ingredient in pumpkin pie, it can also be used in chutneys, roasted meats and other savory dishes, like stews. Here’s how it can benefit the whole family:
The anti-inflammatory properties of allspice can help reduce pain and discomfort, making it useful for muscle aches and arthritis.
Due to its ability to stimulate digestive enzymes, allspice can help alleviate gas, bloating, stomach aches and other digestive issues in kids.
As parents, we're always looking for ways to nourish our families with the best. This fall, as you indulge in pumpkin pie, know that the spices responsible for the delightful flavor are also contributing to your family's health. From helping manage blood sugar levels and aiding digestion to boosting the immune system and soothing sore throats, these spices can be your allies in the quest for a healthy and happy family. Enjoy the season to the fullest, and let your family's taste buds and well-being thank you for it!
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