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/ Source: TODAY
By Keri Glassman, R.D.

Besides taking any meal from bland to bold, adding spices to your winter dishes provide some serious health benefits too. Spices have a unique ability to add flavor and nutritional value (and even a feeling of warmth and comfort) to any meal, without adding calories or salt. Add one, or all, of these spices to your meals this winter for a nutritious and tasty addition.

1. Cayenne

This spice has quite the kick in flavor and in the health department. The compound, capsaicin, has been linked to lower blood pressure and could even provide relief from arthritis pain. Some research has found that it might aid in weight loss. It can be added to warm water with lemon, ginger and honey as an amazing winter immunity elixir. And you can always sprinkle it over winter vegetables, eggs, chicken or fish for some major flavor.

2. Cinnamon

This is always my go-to spice recommendation because of its versatility, warmth and potential health benefits. Cinnamaldehyde, the compound found in cinnamon that gives it its flavor and smell is believed to have antimicrobial and antifungal properties in traditional Chinese medicine. Cinnamon also acts as an antioxidant, providing anti-inflammatory benefits. You can “sweeten” your coffee, winter smoothie, oatmeal, roasted root veggies and soup, with this delish spice instead of sugar.

3. Cardamom

Sometimes referred to as "the queen of spices" this ingredient can swing sweet or savory, and it’s warm flavor pairs well with cinnamon to make the ideal winter duo. Beside the anti-inflammatory benefits from flavonoids, cardamom also contains a compound called cineole, which can act as an antiseptic and is promoted as a way to fight the bacteria that causes bad breath.

4. Ginger

Long known for its benefits like improving digestion and nausea and being a sniffle buster, most of us will benefit from sneaking a little bit of ginger into our daily diets. You can’t go wrong in the cold winter months with carrot ginger squash soup, but even adding a couple of slices of fresh ginger to a mug of warm tea in the morning can potentially up your health game.

Ginger shrimp stir-fry

5. Turmeric

This yellow spice contains curcumin, which some research indicates is a powerful antioxidant and a way to fight inflammation in the body. Whether there are health benefits from the traditional medicine is unclear, but who doesn’t love a delish warm beverage you can turn to on cold winter days? Get adventurous and swap an afternoon coffee for a turmeric latte. Or, revamp any go-to recipe by adding a dash. Have a curry you swear by? Don’t be afraid to add a sprinkle. Yellow looks good on you!

For more tips on how to live a nutritious life, follow Keri on Instagram @nutritiouslifeofficial.