The Surprising Health Benefits of Pumpkin Spice
We might be sad about summer coming to an end, but nothing makes us move on faster — and remember that it’s fall that we love — than a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks. And while PSL season seems to start earlier and earlier every year, we aren’t complaining. As it turns out, pumpkin spice can do more than fancy up your latte. The ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, and allspice found in a pumpkin spice mixture — or made from scratch — can work its magic on the taste buds and one the body. Discover the health benefits of pumpkin spice, ahead.
Pumpkin spice health benefits
Pumpkin spice lovers rejoice! Up until now, you might have thought fall’s favorite ingredient was just an excuse to add flavor to your lattes, oatmeal, and anything else you can think of. So long as it contains real spices — we hate to break it to you, but Starbucks pumpkin spice is actually a pumpkin pie flavored syrup — it can pack a healthful punch.
That said, many pumpkin spice items can contain artificial flavoring, added sugar, and even fat. When selecting a pre-made — or made-to-order — pumpkin spice food or drink, be sure to look at the label for real spices. To reap the full health benefits of pumpkin spice, you can make your own spice with equal parts cinnamon, ginger, clove, nutmeg, and a dash of allspice and add it to your morning coffee, oatmeal, or even a healthy pumpkin smoothie.
We break down pumpkin spice — and its health benefits — below.
Cinnamon is an excellent spice that boasts a lot of flavor. But, that’s not the only thing it’s good for. One of its most impressive qualities is its antioxidant count — it’s loaded with them. Antioxidants help protect the body from damaging free radicals that can have an oxidative effect on the body. In a study comparing the antioxidant count of 26 spices, cinnamon came out on top and even surpassed garlic, oregano and other so-called “superfood” spices.
Also, cinnamon is anti-inflammatory and can lower blood sugar levels. It has also been linked to heart disease, as it might be able to reduce the risk of specific key factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, and triglycerides.
Cinnamaldehyde — one of the main components of cinnamon — is also antibacterial and antifungal. Because of this, it some believe cinnamon can help ward off various infections.
It’s no secret that ginger is rich in health benefits. Often used to soothe upset stomachs and reduce nausea, the spice is more than a cold season superhero. Ginger is linked to brain function and might be able to protect against Alzheimer’s Disease. Like cinnamon, ginger contains a component — called gingerol — that can help keep infections at bay.
The pumpkin spice ingredient can also help lower blood sugar, which in turn helps lower risk of heart disease since high blood pressure is a key factor.
Nutmeg is another spice that can work wonders for your health. For starters, it some believe nutmeg can reduce feelings of pain. So, adding the spice to food — or a homemade pumpkin spice latte — can improve pain associated with strains, injuries and even arthritis. Also, it has impressive fiber content that can help promote healthy digestion. The spice is also detoxifying and can benefit the kidneys and liver by cleaning out the toxins.
Like some of the other pumpkin spice ingredients, nutmeg is also linked to brain function, and studies show it can lower specific effects that impact the risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease. Nutmeg also regulates blood pressure and can treat bad breath. It is also an excellent remedy for insomnia, as it is rich in magnesium — a mineral that promotes relaxation and sleep.
Similar to cinnamon, clove is rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C, which can neutralize free radicals and benefit your health overall. Also, clove contains antimicrobial properties that can help keep bacteria at bay and promote oral health. Clove also helps support healthy blood sugar levels, liver health, and bone health.
Contrary to popular belief, allspice is not all spices in one. It comes from the pimento tree — specifically its dried fruit — and boasts a variety of health benefits. One of its most impressive qualities? It’s ability to aid inflammatory issues. Because allspice is an anti-inflammatory, it helps lower inflammation and pain caused by the ailment. Thanks to antibacterial and antioxidant properties, it can also boost the immune system and protect the body against environmental aggressors.
Another impressive health benefits of allspice is its ability to improve circulation. Allspice boasts significant copper and iron levels that are essential to red blood cells. Because of this, it can boost circulation and even warm the body.
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