One of the easiest and most delicious ways to use spices and supplements is to add them to a morning smoothie. I often add some or all of these to my kids’ drinks and they don’t even realize this is their most nutritional meal of the day! Here are some basic ingredients that you can find in the bulk or supplement section of your local health food store or Whole Foods that will give you real health benefits with very little effort: 1) Cinnamon – just adding ½ - 1 tsp of this ancient spice can reduce inflammation stopping arthritic aches, headaches and migraines, keep candida at bay, have antioxidant effects, fight bacteria, boost cognitive function and memory and help lower blood sugar and cholesterol. WOW, who knew, cinnamon!
2) Cardamom – even as little as ¼ tsp will be enough to get the benefits of this aromatic spice. Cardamom helps with inflammation and digestion, it helps with congestion, serves as a detoxifier of your kidneys and liver and even helps with asthma, allergies, PMS and halitosis! The flavor can be quite strong for some people, but it blends nicely with berries and cinnamon.
3) Coconut- adding a little shredded coconut (or chunks of fresh coconut) can help with so many things! Coconut has been a wonder food for many cultures and has been used for millennium in traditional and now in modern medicine. Among the many benefits of coconut are improved digestion and absorption of other vitamins, nutrients, minerals and amino acids while preventing candida, viruses and bacteria that cause infection.
4) Cacao – either as a raw powder or in nib form (great for added texture), cocao acts as an antioxidant that can help prevent cancer and heart disease. Cocoa powder has also been shown to lower blood pressure and improve blood flow, all while elevating our mood (as chocolate usually does!)
5) Probiotics – just adding ½ tsp (or one capsule) of a multi-flora probiotic can help the gut flora by restoring good bacteria that we often wipe out over years of antibiotic use. This good flora is vital in proper digestion and in reducing and preventing inflammation.
6) Micro greens or spirulina – We’ve all been told to eat our green vegetables as it is the best source of vitamins and nutrients as any food on earth. By tossing anywhere from 1 tsp to 1 Tbsp of microgreens or spirulina (plant based protein) into a smoothie, we can get the benefits of leafy greens as we start our day!