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Add Spices to Your Life

These four pantry perennials can do a lot more than season your supper. They also perform double duty treating a surprising array of health issues.

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Cinnamon

This spice has a secret -- it lowers blood sugar, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. Sprinkle a pinch of powdered cinnamon on food three times a day (but no more).

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Peppermint

Perhaps the world's most familiar herb, peppermint eases the digestive pain that comes with irritable bowel syndrome. To relieve IBS, choose enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules; a good brand is Pepogest, available at health-food stores. Follow label directions.

Turmeric

This spice, which gives ballpark mustard its yellow color, contains curcumin, a compound that's been researched for its potent anti-inflammatory activity. it relieves arthritis pain and may also help prevent colorectal cancer. Add 1/2 teaspoon powdered turmeric to rice, curries, and egg dishes as often as you can.

Ginger

Gingerroot safely eases all types of nausea. Use 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger per cup water; simmer for 10 minutes, strain, and drink. Also try ginger honey tonic from New Chapter, available at health-food stores. Follow label directions.

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