December 7, 2015

Boost Your Immune System and Metabolism with Spices!

Spices are a pungent or aromatic substance that we use to season our food, but did you know they have a huge list of healing properties? Many of them are great for boosting immunity and increasing metabolism.

Here are my top 5 save-you-from-sickness-and-still-fit-into-your-skinny-jeans spices:


Part of the ginger family, this spice is responsible for giving ethnic dishes their beautiful golden color. You can easily add a teaspoon to salad dressings, roasted squash, soups and curries.

Immunity Boosting Properties – Proven to prevent illnesses of all kinds from colds to cancer, curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is loaded with natural anti-inflammatories that help keep your immune system in top form.

Weight Loss Properties – Turmeric is a great digestion aid and a healthy digestive system is the key to weight loss. When we are able to better absorb the vitamins and minerals in our foods, we tend to eat less and feel better.


An allium, or more simply part of the onion family, garlic is truly a super spice. To maximize medicinal benefits, you’ll want to consume garlic raw. I recommend using a Microplane grater to create a fine paste that you can add to salad dressing or miso soup.

Immunity Boosting Properties: Garlic contains the highest amount of antimicrobial and antifungal properties of any herb and is the strongest natural antibiotic out there. It’s also been proven to multiply immune-boosting white blood cells.

Weight Loss Properties: One of the most effective fat burning foods, garlic contains the sulfur compound allicin, which helps reduce cholesterol and unhealthy fats in the body.

So, why not try hitting your body with a double whammy of healing spices this holiday season? You’ll keep your immune system strong and give your metabolism an added boost.


This powerful root is definitely one to keep in the house at all times. I like to advise my clients to make a fresh ginger tea by grating the ginger and squeezing the “juice” from the pulp into a cup of boiling water.

Immunity Boosting Properties: Chinese studies have shown that ginger helps kill influenza viruses, and an Indian report shows that it increases the immune system’s ability to fight infection. You’re covered across all cultures!

Weight Loss Properties: Ginger is referred to as a “thermogenic food”, meaning it raises the temperature of the body and helps boost metabolism so you burn more fat. It can be a natural appetite suppressant by calming the stomach and aiding digestion.


Both sweet and spicy, cinnamon is extremely versatile – try mixing a teaspoon in your morning coffee or tea, blend into smoothies, or sprinkle on oatmeal or fresh fruit.

Immunity Boosting Properties: Cinnamon is an antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial machine, so it does more than just boost the immune system — it actually fights the cause of illness.

Weight Loss Properties: A 2003 study published in Diabetes Care showed that as little as one teaspoon of cinnamon per day can boost the body’s weight-loss ability by reducing blood sugar and promoting healthier processing of carbohydrates. Plus, cinnamon has been shown to prevent the metabolic syndrome commonly seen in pre-diabetics.


Not a fan of fiery cuisine? Not to worry! Research has found that cayenne’s ability to reduce appetite and boost your immune system is equally effective whether ingested as food or in capsule form. Or I suggest adding just a little bit to all your savory dishes, a small amount won’t add much heat but it does add a lovely additional layer of flavor to your food.

Immunity Boosting Properties: High in vitamin A, cayenne pepper provides your body with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant goodness (which means your body is better able to fight off the germs and toxins you come in contact with everyday).

Weight Loss Properties: The main ingredient in spicy cayenne-capsaicin, which is also found in other hot peppers-has long been studied for its fat-burning abilities.

What are your favorite ways to get spicy? Share your recipes in the comments below!

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