Spice Up the Season

By Celia Shatzman

Feel guilty sipping eggnog or munching on gingersnaps? These holiday goodies may not be as bad as you think. Some of the most commonly used spices in traditional treats can reduce inflammation, lower your risk of heart disease, and more, says Sarah Krieger, RD, national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. To reap the health boost without the calories, try these smart treat alternatives:


Spice Traditional Treat Better Bite Health Boost
Cardamom Cookies, cakes, and sweet breads Sprinkle over hot cereal or sautéed pears and apples Contains antioxidants and aids digestion
Cinnamon Pies Add a dash to coffee, or use a cinnamon stick to stir cocoa May lower blood sugar and cholesterol
Clove Cookies and cakes Add a pinch to meat or seafood marinades Helps relieve soreness and inflammation, especially tooth pain
Ginger Gingersnaps Mix into stir-fries, salads, or veggie dishes Alleviates heartburn, bloating, and nausea
Nutmeg Eggnog Spice up sweet potatoes, or add to chicken dishes Antibacterial compounds help ward off salmonella, E. coli, and listeria