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  • Larissa Spafford, NTP

Use these 6 herbs and spices to make your meals even healthier this Thanksgiving


It’s only October, and I’m already tired of hearing about pumpkin spice EVERYTHING. Actually, I was tired of it in September. So many of the pumpkin spice flavored foods are super sugary and not health promoting. It makes me cringe a little every time I hear the words “pumpkin spice”. The actual spices though, they do have amazing health benefits.

Throughout history, herbs and spices have been used for culinary and medicinal purposes. Today, scientific research is confirming that these plants do have the health promoting benefits that were known and passed down from generation to generation. More research needs to be done, but what’s been discovered so far is more than enough to encourage incorporating more into your diet for their chronic disease preventing properties. (1,2,3,4)

The specific chemical make up varies for each herb and spice. They contain components with anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, antitumour and anticancer properties. They have glucose and cholesterol lowering properties and can benefit cognition, mood and more.

One of the best things about herbs and spices, is that they make food more interesting and delicious. Here’s some of my favorite fall and winter herbs and spices and a whole food recipe that highlights the flavor of each. Any of these recipes would be great addition to your Thanksgiving dinner. If you enjoy the sciencey side of things, check out the links in the reference section at the bottom of this page.

I hope you enjoy this info and these recipes! If you'd like help using whole food nutrition to feel better and enjoy life more, I'd love to help. You can choose the best virtual or in person service for you here.

Sage (5)

Sage Brown Butter Sauce from

Rosemary (6)

Roasted Beets with Grapefruit & Rosemary from

Thyme (1)

Easy Thyme Lemon Garlic

Garlic (7,8)

Rosemary Garlic Hasselback Potatoes from

Ginger (9,10)

Ginger Lime Salmon from

Cinnamon (11)

Cinnamon Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Apples from


1) Khazdair, Mohammad Reza et al. “Neuroprotective potency of some spice herbs, a literature review.” Journal of traditional and complementary medicinevol. 9,2 98-105. 30 Apr. 2018, doi:10.1016/j.jtcme.2018.01.002

2) Liu Q, Meng X, Li Y, Zhao C-N, Tang G-Y, Li H-B. Antibacterial and Antifungal Activities of Spices. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2017; 18(6):1283.

3) Jiang, T. Alan. Health Benefits of Culinary Herbs and Spices. Journal of AOAC International, Volume 102, Number 2, March-April 2019, pp. 395-411(17).doi:10.5740/jaoacint.18-0418

4) Yashin A, Yashin Y, Xia X, Nemzer B. Antioxidant Activity of Spices and Their Impact on Human Health: A Review. Antioxidants. 2017; 6(3):70.

5) Hamidpour, Mohsen et al. “Chemistry, Pharmacology, and Medicinal Property of Sage (Salvia) to Prevent and Cure Illnesses such as Obesity, Diabetes, Depression, Dementia, Lupus, Autism, Heart Disease, and Cancer.” Journal of traditional and complementary medicine vol. 4,2 (2014): 82-8. doi:10.4103/2225-4110.130373

6) de Oliveira, Jonatas Rafael et al. “Rosmarinus officinalis L. (rosemary) as therapeutic and prophylactic agent.” Journal of biomedical science vol. 26,1 5. 9 Jan. 2019, doi:10.1186/s12929-019-0499-8

7) Petrovska, Biljana Bauer, and Svetlana Cekovska. “Extracts from the history and medical properties of garlic.” Pharmacognosy reviews vol. 4,7 (2010): 106-10. doi:10.4103/0973-7847.65321

8) Wan, Qianyi et al. “Allium vegetable consumption and health: An umbrella review of meta-analyses of multiple health outcomes.” Food science & nutritionvol. 7,8 2451-2470. 10 Jul. 2019, doi:10.1002/fsn3.1117

9)Bode AM, Dong Z. The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. In: Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011. Chapter 7

10)Mohd Sahardi, Nur Fatin Nabilah, and Suzana Makpol. “Ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) in the Prevention of Ageing and Degenerative Diseases: Review of Current Evidence.” Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM vol. 2019 5054395. 20 Aug. 2019, doi:10.1155/2019/5054395

11)Mollazadeh, Hamid, and Hossein Hosseinzadeh. “Cinnamon effects on metabolic syndrome: a review based on its mechanisms.” Iranian journal of basic medical sciences vol. 19,12 (2016): 1258-1270. doi:10.22038/ijbms.2016.7906

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