The arrival of fall heralds the arrival of all things pumpkin spice. Heck, in most stores we’ve been seeing pumpkin spice products since August. From coffee to candles to protein powder to beer, there’s hardly a product out there that hasn’t decided to take advantage of the popularity of pumpkin spice.
But for every person out there who loves pumpkin spice there’s probably at least one who’s tired of the pumpkin spice-ization of everything. Still, even the curmudgeons who hate pumpkin spice have to admit that it isn’t all bad. After all, the spices that go into pumpkin spice not only taste good (to those who enjoy the taste), but they also have numerous health benefits. Here are the spices that make up pumpkin spice and why they’re so beneficial.
Allspice got its name because many early descriptions of it characterized it as containing the flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves together. Allspice is most commonly found in ground form, although with a little bit of searching you could probably find the dried berries. Allspice can help reduce inflammation in the body, strengthen the immune system, and help blood circulation. It even contains a compound that can help fight prostate cancer.
Cinnamon is perhaps the spice most commonly associated with fall, whether it’s in pumpkin spice, baked with apples, or heated with mulled cider. Along with its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, cinnamon can help cut the risk of heart disease, improve insulin sensitivity, and help fight bacterial infections.
Cloves are an incredibly pungent spice that don’t require huge numbers to impart a strong flavor. Health benefits of cloves include helping regulate blood sugar, helping slow bone mass loss, and improving the health of the liver.
The ginger used in pumpkin spice is often in the form of ginger powder, not fresh ginger. But powdered ginger still has numerous health benefits, including aiding digestion, lessening the symptoms and effects of nausea, and reducing inflammation.
Nutmeg, like allspice, is most often found in powdered form, but occasionally you can find whole nutmeg nuts to grate. Health benefits of nutmeg include relieving pain, inducing sleep, and aiding in digestion.