In her new book, Rewind Your Body Clock, natural health expert Jayney Goddard offers a blueprint for anti-aging the natural way. One thing she recommends: herbs and spices. In our two-part excerpt, she counts down the top 12 herbs and spices, based on scientific evidence, that are most effective in helping humans stay healthy.
Here are the top six.
6. Ginger: To Warm the Cockles of Your Heart
Delicious warming ginger has a whole range of amazing healing uses, so you’d best brace yourself for this one.
Its anti-inflammatory properties can help to keep your heart healthy and your arteries clear. It has also been shown to help improve immune system function, lower cholesterol levels, and help prevent the formation of oxidized LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Ginger has also been shown to boost metabolism, therefore potentially accelerating weight loss. Interestingly, it also increases exercise endurance capacity, so feel free to try consuming more ginger if you’d like to be able to work out harder and longer.
Organic compounds within ginger — gingerol in particular — have also been extensively studied for their cancer-prevention properties. For example, gingerol is thought by some to be helpful in the prevention of both breast cancer and skin cancer. Furthermore, recent studies have also linked gingerol to healthy cell death (apoptosis) in ovarian cancer cells, and this can help to reduce the incidence of tumors — and the growth of cancerous cells — without harming the healthy cells around them. Another powerful compound in ginger, zerumbone, has been linked to helping with the prevention of gastric, ovarian, and pancreatic cancer as it is an anti-angiogenic, which means it could prevent the growth of blood vessels in tumors. As such, it is being researched as a potential anti-tumor drug. Ginger can also help balance blood-sugar levels in people suffering from Type 2 diabetes. Plus, it is thought to help with the onset of age-related, neurodegenerative diseases, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, as it is a potent antioxidant and helps to keep your memory intact.
Finally, I thought you’d also like to know that ginger has been used for years to enhance desire and sexual activity. The root helps increase blood circulation, particularly to the midsection of the body, which is, of course, an important area for sexual performance.
5. Oregano: To Protect Your Bones and Aid in Detox
Oregano is a nutrient-rich herb, containing high levels of calcium, iron, and manganese, and this makes it great for protecting your bones against osteoporosis later in life. The active constituent of oregano, called rosmarinic acid, helps to eliminate free radicals that age us and contribute to disease. The herb also contains organic compounds that make it very useful for supporting your body’s detoxification pathways. Plus it contains a form of omega-3 fatty acid that helps rebalance cholesterol levels and reduce cardiovascular inflammation, enhancing overall health.
4. Allspice: The Caribbean Anti-Aging Secret
Allspice is a potent spice from Jamaica that has a complex and intriguing mix of flavors. It can help keep blood-sugar levels under control by balancing circulating blood glucose, which helps to inhibit the formation of AGEs (advanced glycation end products, which cause oxidative stress and inflammation in the body). If incorporated into a healthy diet, it also helps improve circulation, enhance mood, protect the gastrointestinal system, enhance healthy immune function, lower blood pressure, and reduce chronic inflammation. Plus, it has pain-relieving qualities.
Allspice also has antibacterial and antifungal properties and is particularly potent in combatting unhealthy stomach bacteria (E. coli and Listeria monocytogenes, in particular). When added to foods, it can even deactivate harmful bacteria before they start to do damage. The presence of a variety of potent chemical compounds, including eugenol, tannins, and quercetin, make allspice a potent antioxidant, too. And the high levels of vitamins A and C in the spice add to this antioxidant activity.
Allspice is also an effective vasodilator, relaxing blood vessels, allowing increased blood to flow through them, therefore reducing the strain on the heart and arteries and lowering the risk of conditions such as atherosclerosis, strokes, and heart attacks.
3. Cloves: Superhero of the Spice World
Cloves beat the other spices mentioned so far hands down when it comes to anti-aging properties, as they have the highest antioxidant levels, so regular consumption of cloves is a good idea. Most of us are familiar with using clove oil, with caution, as an anesthetic for toothache, gum pain, and sore throat. However, cloves can also offer relief from respiratory problems, including bronchitis and asthma, and they help to fight intestinal parasites, bacterial overgrowth, and fungal infections. They have also been shown to aid digestion, protect the liver, improve immune system function, support improved blood-sugar metabolism, and preserve bone density, and they they are being researched as an anti-cancer agent. Last but not least, they have potent aphrodisiac properties, and can help to keep things vibrant on that front, too.
2. Cinnamon: Queen of Anti-Aging Spices
Cinnamon contains anti-inflammatory compounds that have been shown to help relieve pain. However, one of the most exciting benefits it gives us is the ability to help our bodies deal with sugar better. In fact, just a quarter of a teaspoon of cinnamon a day has been proven to reduce blood-sugar levels. Cinnamon also has the ability to mimic the effects of a low-calorie diet and therefore slow signs of biological aging.
Research into cinnamon’s effects on cancer has been ongoing for many years, and two substances in particular — cinnamaldehyde and eugenol — have been shown to actively prevent cancer cells from spreading and growing, which is an exciting development for cancer research, particularly in the case of colon cancer, lymphoma, and leukemia.
These antioxidant constituents are also markedly beneficial for skin health and appearance, and they enhance your body’s ability to heal and repair itself. There is also an intriguing chemical connection between your brain and the scent and taste of cinnamon. So much so that, in research, when people chewed cinnamon-flavored gum, or simply smelled cinnamon, their cognitive ability was enhanced.
1. Turmeric: Pure Anti-Aging Gold
Turmeric is the spice that gives many curries that beautiful yellow color. A potent anti-aging agent, it is loaded with antioxidants, which help fight the signs of aging, including wrinkles and hyperpigmentation from sun damage, by curbing the growth of free radicals. In India, where turmeric is extensively used, the incidence of the four most common cancers found in developed nations is 10 times lower. It is thought that this phenomenon is at least in small part due to the regular consumption of turmeric, which contains many active compounds, the most potent of which is curcumin.
Curcumin is one of the most widely researched spice extracts, and studies strongly suggest that it can help protect against cancer and can even instigate cell death that is helpful in diminishing tumors while allowing normal cells to function properly (a process called apoptosis). Curcumin has also been shown to help protect against Alzheimer’s, coronary artery disease, and any condition in which chronic inflammation is the underlying cause.
Turmeric’s active compounds have also been shown to enhance liver function, which helps to reduce levels of toxicity in the body. And the antioxidant properties of turmeric can be helpful for liver ailments such as cirrhosis and fatty liver disease.
To see the rest of the list of 12 best herbs and spices, read part one of this story.
Excerpted with permission from Rewind Your Body Clock. Copyright Jayney Goddard, Watkins Media 2019. Order the book at amazon.com.