Getting Spicy: 6 Spices Your Kitchen Should Not Be Without

Do you like to spice your dishes up or do you avoid adding any spices like the plague?   How many spice containers do you have in your kitchen cabinet?  The problem with a lot of the spices we buy over the counter is the amount of time they spend on the shelf.

Spices, when fresh, are awesome for your health and can even prove more beneficial than some fruits and vegetables.  The problem is getting and then using spices while they are fresh before they go south.  A great way to do this is either grow your own, which unless you’re the town green thumb, this may be a challenge.  Another, easier alternative is to visit a specialty spice shop to pick some up fresh for max benefits.  Because spices really do play an important role in our lives, I’ve compiled a short list of 5 awesome spices sure to kick your health and spiciness up a notch!

spice containers

Image via Flickr by EasyPickle


Also doubling as a woman’s name rosemary is one spice that’s in your best interest not to ignore.  Rosemary boasts antioxidant and antibacterial properties, can ward against candidiasis growth, and is used in treating those with asthma.  (say bu-bye yeast infections!)

Ways to use:  sprinkle on boiled red potatoes or cook with fish and chicken


This bushy twig does a lot more than make a plate look pretty!  Parsley is a good source of folic acid with a healthy dose of beta carotene.  In addition it has been shown to reduce carcinogens in the body, and help ease digestion (no more bloating!).

Ways to use: Chop into rice dishes like Tabbouleh  or sprinkle on cooked vegetables.


From helping to fight colds to controlling indigestion, cumin is a spice all-star not to be missed from your kitchen collection. Cumin is also a good source of iron.

Ways to Use: sprinkle into black beans and rice, mix into tacos, or use with chickpeas in making an Indian style dish.


This spice is excellent in regulating your blood sugar. It is also claimed to reduce cholesterol however more studies need to be conducted to prove this is completely accurate.  It has even been shown to help reduce inflammation and help fight off bacteria in the body,  Cinnamon also is super fragrant and just awesome on sweet and savory dishes.

Ways to use: Sprinkle in oatmeal, put a dash in your coffee, bake apples sprinkled with cinnamon and brown sugar…the list goes on.


Ah, the ingredient we see in many detox teas.  Ginger and ginger root are also excellent in reducing chronic inflammation in the body and is responsible for keeping your gut healthy.  Ginger also helps reduce nausea and is an overall body calming spice. Word to the wise… no heavy hands with this spice.  Use in moderation for best results.

Ways to use: Mix into tea, blend into a stir-fry, or eat with your next serving of sushi.


garlic by tombellart

Image via Flickr by tombellart

This spice does more than just ward off vampires.  Garlic is excellent in boosting your immunity… move over vitamin C!  Garlic additionally is a good source of B6 and is great at regulating your blood sugar. Sure your hands may reek from the clove you ate for dinner last night but be proud, after all it’s for your health.  Want to reap the benefits of garlic but don’t like cooking with it?  Add a garlic supplement into your daily vitamin regime any local drugstore should have a bottle of these supplements.

Ways to use: Cook into vegetables (love garlic sauted with spinach), saute with olive oil and toss with chicken or fish, or dice up and use to make garlic bread.

Which spices are staples in your kitchen?  New to incorporating spices into your diet?  Don’t fret now’s the time to start!  Experiment mixing some spices simple spices into your dishes until gradually you can add more.  Be light in your use though… there is nothing worse than heavy handing spices as too much of the wrong kind can turn your dish south quick.

Now go explore your creativity!

Written by Kimberly Hale


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