Spice Up Your Health With Ginger and Turmeric

Did you know that you can level up the health benefits as well as the flavor profile in your food by using herbs and spices? More and more research shows that herbs and spices have real disease fighting compounds. Topping the charts are ginger, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne, rosemary, mint, and basil. Not only do these herbs and spices add a ton of flavor to your dishes, they increase the health benefits by reducing inflammation and boosting the immune system. These are two functions that cancer survivors want more of from their food!

In this last post in my series on nutrition for March National Nutrition Month, I’m focusing on what I consider the top two spice powerhouses: ginger and turmeric. And read to the end for a tasty spicy soup recipe that uses them both!

Ginger is definitely one of the most powerful spices to incorporate into your diet for fighting cancer. In fact a recent study found ginger contains a compound that could be up to 10,000 times more effective than conventional chemotherapy in targeting the cancer stem cells at the root of cancer malignancy. I’m adding ginger to my arsenal daily in my 5:00 kombucha mocktail!

Ginger is also great for nausea caused by chemotherapy (plus morning sickness and sea sickness) and is strongly anti-inflammatory, helping with pain management.

Another super power spice is turmeric. This is the spice that adds the yellow color to curry. One of the more powerful components in turmeric is called curcumin, a remarkably powerful antioxidant. It helps to fight oxidative damage to our cells which is important because oxidative damage is believed to be one of the main causes of aging and disease.

Just like ginger, curcumin is also strongly anti-inflammatory. Not only has it been shown to be as effective as some anti-inflammatory drugs, studies suggest that it can improve a whole host of other issues like brain function, Alzheimer’s, relieve arthritis, and reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer.

Both ginger and turmeric are root spices that can be used either fresh or dried. You can slice them and add them fresh to soup or a stir fry or add the dried powder to a dish instead. Gaining popularity is a morning turmeric latte or making lemon ginger water. Below is a recipe that incorporates both spices into a spicy and super healthy soup. Both of these spices add some heat so taste as you go if you are sensitive to spicy foods. Try this soup and let me know what you think.

Carrot, Ginger and Turmeric Soup
4 cups chopped carrots
6 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 medium onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 inch fresh ginger root, peeled and finely grated
1 inch piece fresh turmeric root, peeled and finely grated
Sea salt to taste
Chopped fresh parsley, dill or cilantro

Heat a tablespoon of EVOO in a large stock pot and sauté the onion until translucent, Add the garlic, ginger and turmeric and sauté for one more minute. Put in the carrots and sauté for another couple of minutes. Next, add the broth. Bring to boil then cover and reduce heat and simmer 20–25 minutes. Remove from heat and put everything in a blender or food processor to puree. If you have a stick blender, blend it right in the pot. Serve hot topped with fresh herbs.


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