People always talk about the change in weather when fall rolls around; but have you ever noticed that fall seems to have it’s own flavor? As summer comes to an end, citrus and watermelon move aside for cinnamon, spice, and everything nice. Notes of cinnamon, ginger, and cloves begin to pop up everywhere. While all each one of these typical fall spices gets your taste buds jumping for joy, their benefits go way beyond flavor. Spices contain powerful compounds that improve your physical health and can help you lose weight.
Inflammation gets a bad rap; but it’s actually an important physiological response that helps protect your body from infection and helps fight tissue damage. It’s only when inflammation becomes chronic that it becomes a problem. This can happen from a bad diet, lots of stress, or leaky gut (to name a few).
Cinnamon, one of the most well-known fall spices, is packed with powerful antioxidants that fight inflammation and lower the risk of diseases related to inflammation, like heart disease and inflammatory bowel disease. Cinnamon also helps balance blood sugar levels and increase insulin sensitivity—two components for helping promote weight loss and controlling type 2 diabetes.
The antioxidants in cinnamon also protect the body from free radicals—unstable compounds that cause physical damage to your DNA that can lead to cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Cinnamon may also improve blood sugar and cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Like cinnamon, nutmeg has antioxidant properties that fight inflammation and damage from free radicals. Nutmeg goes a step further by helping ease digestive symptoms like gas, nausea, and diarrhea. It also contains a natural compound called myristicin that can protect your brain from Alzheimer’s and dementia.
According to tradition, the reason our bodies crave nutmeg as the weather starts to cool down is because it helps warm up and can fight off colds and stomachaches, which are more common in the fall and winter.
Cloves are anti-fungal, antiseptic, antibacterial, and antiseptic and loaded with antioxidants. They’re also a good source of manganese, a mineral that helps metabolize carbohydrates and fats, regulates blood sugar, and keeps blood clotting normally.
According to Ayurvedic medicine, cloves help relieve sore throats and act as an expectorant, or a compound that helps you cough up excess phlegm and mucus.
One of the most well-known effects of ginger is its ability to relieve nausea. It’s often used for seasickness, morning sickness during pregnancy, and even nausea following chemotherapy. In addition to soothing an upset stomach, ginger may help alleviate chronic indigestion.
Ginger also decreases inflammation, stimulates digestion, and suppresses your appetite—three factors that can actually help promote weight loss.
Ginger is also a powerful pain reliever and blood regulator. In one study, ginger dramatically lowered both fasting blood sugar and A1c levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
Although it’s not as well-known as the previous four fall spices, cardamom has been used in both cooking and medicine for centuries. Cardamom is rich in antioxidants that protect against heart disease and cancer and it can lower blood pressure.
The sweet spice also has antimicrobial properties, so it can boost your immune system and help fight off unwanted bacteria and fungi. This is ideal during the cooler fall and winter months.
Cardamom is also stimulates digestion and acts as a diuretic. It can help flush excess water out of the body so you feel slimmer and trimmer. It also boosts metabolism and helps you burn off fat.