October has begun, which means fall is in full swing. Many companies have introduced (or brought back) their signature fall foods, including the beloved pumpkin pie spices. Our ancestors may not have known it, but pumpkin spices not only delight the senses, they serve practical purposes as well. In fact, many fall spices are healthful and beneficial.
Here is a quick look at the scientifically-proven benefits of many spices to give us even more cause for joy over the comforts of our fall favorites.
Clove. Clove has a large amount of eugenol, which carries antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory benefits. In clinical studies, clove has been shown to be the most consistently effective spice against food-borne pathogens such as E. coli, S. aureus, and B. cereus. This makes sense, since spices such as clove and ginger have been used as food preservatives for centuries.
Cinnamon. Cinnamon makes up a big portion of pumpkin spices. Some of the main components of cinnamon that promote health are eugenol, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and cinnemaldehyde. These give cinnamon an antimicrobial effect that helps boost immunity. Cinnemaldehyde and eugenol have actually been proven to be more effective than amoxicillin against H. pylori.
Cinnamon helps promote blood circulation and regulate blood sugar, which is important during winter months when people are less active and naturally transition into a slower pace. In addition, Cinnamon has strong anti-inflammatory properties, which can help relieve increased pain associated with arthritis.
Ginger. Ginger has been used for centuries as a healing product and food preservative. Ginger can help relieve gas, nausea and vomiting, and is a safe treatment for pregnant women experiencing these symptoms. It is also extremely effective in relieving the inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. Ginger can be made into a paste and applied topically to painful joints to help relive inflammation. It can also actually replicate the pain-relieving effect of NSAIDs when ingested, and is a much safer alternative.
Nutmeg. Nutmeg also has eugenol, which provides an antimicrobial effect. Additionally, nutmeg has antioxidants in the form of phenolic properties and gallic acid equivalents that can help combat inflammation as well as prevent and fight cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Gallic acid is a promising agent in fighting against tumor growth, specifically in lymphoma and melanoma cases.
Allspice. Like the other spices, allspice contains eugenol and gallic acid, which make it good for immune support during cold and flu season. Allspice has been used for years to help the body fight against high blood pressure and menstrual cramps. Interestingly, allspice has also been proven as a powerful substitute for pesticides and fungicides.
Not only do clove, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and allspice “spice up” fall and winter recipes, but they also help preserve food, promote immune health, and combat inflammation. These powerful pumpkin spices blend can help us enjoy and make the most of this fall and winter season.