Every food tastes a little better with a spice of flavor, but can taste even better when you know that the spices you use are good for you too. Lowering blood pressure, speeding metabolism, and improving digestion are just some of the benefits up these super spices!

Chili pepper: The chemical component found in chili peppers, known as capsaicin, has become a superstar in recent days due to studies that have found several health benefits linked to the hot and fiery spice. A study from the European Journal of Medicine found capsaicin to speed metabolism by up to 50%, which can help induce weight loss and prevent weight gain if eaten regularly.  In addition, a 2010 study found that capsaicin can also have blood-pressure lowering effects.  In a topical form, capsaicin can also help to relieve arthritis and has been used to treat shingles.  There seem to be no limits to what this hot and spicy substance can do! Eat peppers with caution though since not everyone has built up the tolerance to eat this spice.  Start with a mild poblano and work your way up to jalapeno, habanero, and serrano chili peppers.

Turmeric: This warm and bitter-tasting herb is derived from a shrub grown throughout India, Asia, and Africa and has a distinct rich golden color.  Turmeric is suspected to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and has been used for centuries in ayurvedic medicine to aid in digestion and relieving such ailments as heartburn, stomach ulcers, and gallstones.

Cinnamon: This sweet and slightly spicy seasoning is derived from the bark of cinnamon trees native to India, China, and Southeast Asia. Folk medicine has used cinnamon for centuries to aid in relieving upset stomachs and other gastrointestinal problems such as loss of appetite.

Garlic: This edible bulb of a lily plant has a pungent taste and can be used to flavor just about any dish. It has been shown to have the ability to slightly lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure when eaten regularly.

Ginger: This stem of a tropical plant is used as an aromatic addition to sauces and baked goods to name a few flavorful suggestions. This spice has been used for many years in Chinese medicine and has been shown in studies to relieve nausea, upset stomach, and diarrhea.  Other nausea-relieving spices include peppermint and fennel.

Source: National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (National Institutes of Health), Cell Metabolism, European Journal of Medicine, Mayo Clinic