Today marks the first day of fall so I am continuing with another fall themed blog post even if the temperatures outside are still reaching the lower 90s (sigh). Today I am talking about 3 popular fall spices and the health benefits they provide. Fall is a very fragrant season. I bet if you close your eyes and breathe in you can almost smell your favorite fall scent. Whether its from a candle or a latte or simply from your front porch, fall has many wonderful smells. And the spices we are talking about today are no different. Let’s learn a little bit more about cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.
Cinnamon- Cinnamon contains powerful antioxidants and thereby has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Some research has shown cinnamon contains more antioxidants than even superfoods like oregano and garlic. Cinnamon has been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, helping to lower cholesterol and triglycerides. It also helps increase sensitivity to insulin in those with Type 2 Diabetes and lower fasting blood sugar levels.
Nutmeg: Nutmeg has been shown to improve heart health by lowering cholesterol just like its cinnamon counterpart. It has also been shown to reduce flatulence and improve your memory and/or capacity for learning. For all you adults out there, this spice is also known as an aphrodisiac 😊.
Cloves- Cloves contain fiber, vitamins (mainly vitamin C), minerals, and a contain a compound called eugenol, which has been shown to act as a natural antioxidant. Interestingly, cloves have been shown to have antimicrobial properties, helping promote better oral health. Lastly, cloves are rich in manganese, a mineral that’s involved in bone formation and is incredibly important to bone health.
Now let’s get practical about how you can apply this in your practice.
Acute care or community-based dietitians- include the aforementioned information about cinnamon in your nutrition education sessions. Maybe even provide a recipe card with cinnamon included!
Long term care dietitians- tell your patients about the health benefits of nutmeg and cloves. Help them experience the taste and smell of this spice by creating or picking a snack or dessert made with this ingredient. Partner with your activities director to ensure you are working as a team.
Foodservice dietitians- scan your fall/winter menu and make sure some, if not all, of these ingredients are included on your menu. Maybe create an informational graphic to hang in your cafeteria or dining hall to help educate residents on the health benefits of what you are serving them.
I hope this information has been helpful and you go forth feeling prepared with interesting health information. Here’s to hoping that talking about fall will bring cooler weather!