LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Before you begin preparing your holiday menus, pay special attention to this Healthcast. There's a way you can spice up your health with a dash of some seasonal flavors.
A holiday dinner is probably about the last place you could expect to find a healthy boost from ingredients, but there are actually several holiday spices that provide unique health benefits. Licensed Nutritionist, Dr. Eric Snow with Pure Foods in Lake Charles says, "In small amounts, you can get a good benefit from these spices."
Flavorful holiday seasonings like cinnamon, nutmeg, peppermint and ginger can help with everything from indigestion to lowering blood pressure. Dr. Snow says, "Ginger's a very, very good product. It really helps with nausea, a lot of pregnant women like to use ginger, so it's good for that."
And something that can be used in baking some great holiday desserts can also aid in digestion, relieve congestion and stimulate circulation. "One that's really popular, it's been around for a long time is cinnamon," says Dr. Snow, "it dates back almost 3,000 years ago with traditional Chinese medicine."
When it comes to soothing the intestinal tract, nutmeg has its roots in flavor and healing. "It's very effective at eliminating parasites, fungus and different things like that," says Dr. Snow, "the old Chinese doctors used to use it to expel different infections out of the lower GI tract."
What's known as one of the world's oldest medicines can be your key to stress relief and calming your allergies. Dr. Snow says, "The science and the physiology behind the peppermint oils is it's shown to anesthetize the mucus membranes in the throat and in the GI tract."
While these spices aren't a cure for health problems, they can offer a simple way to savor the flavors of the season with a little added benefit.