5 Spices to Add to Your Cooking for Better Digestion
There are so many foods that are known to provide us, and our guts, with a variety of benefits. Foods that fight inflammation, are anti-microbial, that feed our good gut bugs, that provide us with fiber for great bowel movements, and more. As a nutritionist, I love that for all of us.
But while these foods are amazing, they often take away much of the spotlight from their plant counterparts: herbs and spices!
Beyond whole foods that provide us with a ton of health benefits, herbs and spices, much of which you probably already have in your kitchen, are a great way to pack in an extra nutritional punch on a daily basis.
Here, we’re going to cover 5 specific spices that are great for digestion.
This fragrant herb, originating from the Mediterranean and Middle East, boasts a ton of health benefits — especially for our digestion! You may be familiar with it if you frequent curries, and stews. So good.
Here are a few ways that cumin can actually support our digestion:
Cumin is a carminative, meaning it helps to expel and move along gas (which can help with gas pains, abdominal discomfort, and bloating!)
Cumin may be anti-inflammatory, which can lower inflammation in the GI tract, which can lead to intestinal permeability, abdominal pain, altered bowel movements, etc.
Cumin is a digestive stimulant, meaning it can help stimulate gastric secretions like digestive enzymes (this is due to an organic compound found in cumin called ‘cuminaldehyde’)
This is a great herb to work into soups, stews, curries, and even, when you have the seeds on hand, as a tea! Here’s a recipe you can check out to help you incorporate cumin into your nutrition.
Ginger is a super-herb that provides us with so many medicinal benefits. As it relates to digestion specifically, ginger really shines.
Here are some of the ways ginger can support our digestion:
Ginger is a cholagogue, meaning it helps to promote the secretion of bile from our gallbladder, which helps us to break down and digest fats
Ginger is a gastrointestinal stimulant, meaning it helps with gastric motility
Ginger is a carminative, meaning it helps to expel and move along trapped gas.
Ginger is an anti-inflammatory, which can lower inflammation in the GI tract, which can lead to intestinal permeability, abdominal pain, altered bowel movements, etc.
Ginger is anti-spasmodic, meaning it can help reduce muscle spasms, which can relieve cramping and associated abdominal pains
Needless to say, this herb is seriously a powerhouse! Ginger is great to incorporate into your everyday through making a homemade ginger tea (by cutting up some raw ginger and simmering it in a pot of water on the stove). Likewise, you can check out this recipe for some inspo on how to incorporate it.
You’ve probably heard of this wonder-spice before! Tumeric has gained a lot of traction in the mainstream over the last while, and it’s for a good reason.
It’s famous for its anti-inflammatory actions in the body, which is important as so many of the common ailments and illnesses that impact populations today are driven by inflammation.
Here are a few ways you might want to incorporate more turmeric in your life:
Turmeric is highly anti-inflammatory, meaning it can mitigate inflammation in the gut, which can contribute to pain, intestinal permeability, etc.
Turmeric is anti-microbial, meaning that it can help keep populations of pathogenic or opportunistic microbes at bay.
Turmeric is a carminative, meaning it helps to expel and move along gas.
Not sure how you can incorporate turmeric into your day-to-day?
Enjoy a turmeric latte, or add it into your curries, broths, and soups, You can also check out this recipe for some inspo.
Coriander seed is another great herb for digestive support. You might be familiar with its leaf counterpart, cilantro. Whether or not you’re a fan of cilantro, these seeds (that taste nothing like the leaf), will do you and your gut well!
Here are a few ways that coriander can support good gut health:
Coriander is carminative, meaning it helps to expel and move along gas.
Coriander is anti-microbial, meaning that it can help keep populations of pathogenic or opportunistic microbes at bay
Coriander is anti-fungal, meaning that it can help to reduce populations of yeast in the microbiome, like candida albicans for example (which is commonly the culprit for things like thrush and yeast infections).
Coriander antispasmodic, meaning it can help reduce muscle spasms, which can relieve cramping and associated abdominal pains
Coriander seed is great added to soups and in broths, as well as a tea! You can check out this recipe for some inspo on how to incorporate into your daily nutrition.
5. Fennel Seed
Fennel seed is another amazing herb for digestive support. In Ayurveda (a science that originated in India over 5000 years ago), fennel is an herb that helps support “agni” (aka, our digestive fire), and is known to help reduce gas, abdominal pain, and aid in indigestion and acid reflux.
One thing that’s important to note about fennel, is that much of its benefits are within the volatile oils that can be carried through steam! If you’re using this as part of a tea blend, make sure you cover your mug while it steeps so you don’t miss out on all the goodness!
Here are a few ways that fennel seed can support our digestion:
Fennel is anti-inflammatory, which can lower inflammation in the GI tract, which can lead to intestinal permeability, abdominal pain, altered bowel movements, etc.
Fennel is a stomachic, which means it can simulate gastric function and increase appetite
Fennel is a carminative, meaning it helps to expel and move trapped gasses.
Hopefully, this served as an inspiration for you to add some more spice to your nutritional life, for some extra gut love.
If you want to learn more about fundamentals like these, and other things I recommend looking into to support your gut health, definitely check out my FREE Beginners Guide to Gut Healing.