If you enjoy spicy eats, then here’s some good news for you. Your everyday spices do way more than give your food that little extra kick. Turns out that spicy foods don’t just taste great, they’re good for you too. Thanks to our Asian and African counterparts, there’s a wide array to pick and choose from based on personal taste and individual health goals. There’s a reason these health gems have stuck around for centuries and here are the top five you should be adding to your next meal and why.

1. Turmeric
Turmeric is the mother of all spices when it comes to your wellbeing. There is
nothing this spice can’t do. This gorgeous, yellow spice aids in digestion and weight
loss, diminishes the harshness of microbial infections, reduces high cholesterol levels
and protects the heart. It doesn’t end there. If you suffer from physical aches and
pains, adding just a teaspoon of turmeric to your dishes could help battle
inflammation and ease bodily aches. There are even studies that show an inhibition in
cancer growths caused by the compounds in this spicy powerhouse.

2. Cinnamon
Yes, this smoky, dark spice is actually boundless in what it can do for your health. But unfortunately that doesn’t mean go out and indulge on a few cinnamon buns. What it does mean however, is when it’s added to teas and healthy dishes, cinnamon promotes blood circulation, helps in the digestion of food, and serves as an antioxidant powerhouse. While we’re on a roll, this unassuming spice also lowers high blood sugar levels and has various antibacterial properties when taken orally or applied topically. Recent studies also show improvements in mood and levels of depression with the addition of cinnamon. Finally, if you feel like you’ve had too much sodium in your diet, supplement your meal with cinnamon next time to relieve that heavy, bloated feeling.

3. Ginger
No one likes to talk about the pain that comes with that time of the month, but it’s a truth we all come to terms with at one point or another. It turns out the answer to this little feminine dilemma could be ginger. As if that wasn’t reason enough to take ginger by the mounds, this spice also happens to be a natural pain reliever to other bodily pangs. Want more? Ginger also boosts metabolism, fortifies weak immune systems and alleviates minor nausea and motion sickness. Ginger can be used in its dried, powder form, but fresh root is always best.

4. Garlic
No one likes garlic breath, but it might just be a price you’re willing to pay to the benefits of adding this strong spice. Garlic aids in hair growth, eases intestinal issues, and relieves intense pressure in body. Just like turmeric, garlic is another fortified spice that helps lower bad cholesterol in the blood. Can’t get rid of that pesky pimple before a big event? Add a little bit of fresh garlic to your next facemask. Garlic can be applied topically as anti-bacterial treatment and has been shown to reduce acne.

5. Red Chili
Chili doesn’t just do an amazing job at jazzing up food-it’s also a rich source of nutritional fiber. Trying to lose those pesky ten pounds, start sprinkling a little chili on your dinner plate stat! This spicy gem has been proven to boost metabolism and aid weight loss efforts. Red chili has also been shown to assist in the detoxification process of the body by getting rid of free radicals. Just like ginger, spicy red chili also triggers the release of endorphins that support pain relief and is an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin A.

Next time you feel like indulging in a delicious curry or soothing chai tea, you’ll know that you’re not only doing the soul some good, but the body too

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