Holiday Spices that Have Serious Health Benefits

Sarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine

These famous holiday spices offer much more than terrific tastes and scents, they all provide health-boosting benefits.

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Enhancing your health and warding off colds this season may be as simple as adding a dash of sweet and spicy cinnamon to your oatmeal, let's say. It turns out cinnamon actually lowers you "bad" cholesterol and keeps blood sugar in check, which possibly aids in weight loss, too. The spice also has anti-inflammatory properties: You can lower your risk of heart disease with a mere half teaspoon a day. And as if you needed one, cinnamon is also an anti-fungal and anti-bacterial agent.

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Who doesn't love a minty mocha this time of year? This classic holiday spice is famous for relieving stomach problems, so sip on a festive cup of peppermint tea to ease bloating, nausea and cramps. It doesn't end there--you can also rub peppermint oil on your temples to alleviate headaches and reduce stress naturally. Because it's also antimicrobial, chewing on peppermint leaves is sure to keep your bad breath at bay, too.

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This holiday spice has been used for its healing powers since ancient times. Famed for inducing drowsiness, nutmeg is great to sprinkle into herbal tea before bed if you battle insomnia. Indulging in some eggnog? Add a dash to regulate your digestive system. The spice also has antimicrobial properties which kill bad bacteria that cause cavities. What more could you need from your spice rack?

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