October is a veritable onslaught of pumpkin spice lattes, ice creams, yogurts, cereals, cocktails, creamers, and anything else you can shake a spice rack at. If you’re a die-hard, you can make a large batch at home to enjoy all winter long. PSL season is the perfect time to revisit some of the potential benefits of adding more spice to our life (and to our caffeine!)
Your DIY Pumpkin Spice, via Marthastewart.com:
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Add all ingredients to an airtight container, stir or cover and shake until completely mixed. Store sealed in a cool, dry place for 6 months.
Clove, allspice, and cinnamon top the National Institute for Health’s list of spices with highest antioxidant content. What does that mean for us, exactly? Well – antioxidants are plant compounds we ingest that have biological action in our body besides normal, everyday metabolism. Antioxidants can interact with free radicals in our body to neutralize them, which stops them from damaging cell structures. Free radicals have been associated with a faster aging process and breakdown of tissues, so having more antioxidants from plants in our diet may be beneficial for our cellular health and overall longevity.
Free radicals can occur naturally, through digestion, immune response, metabolism, and even breathing. But we can also generate free radicals as a result of exposure to many things, including pollution, pesticides, tobacco, alcohol, and fried or burned foods.
Having a diet rich in fruits, veggies, and whole grains will deliver a host of antioxidants to manage free radical development, and so too will adding a variety of herbs and spices to your diet.
Before thinking about covering everything you eat or drink in your new pumpkin spice blend, consider that herbs and spices have been consumed in small quantities for centuries, and so too are their benefits reaped. No need to go overboard — just get on board to begin with! Adding a couple shakes one or two times a day will be enough to increase your total antioxidant intake, optimizing your diet for health, longevity, and FLAVOR!
You might also enjoy: Shake that Spice Rack