By Dr. Susan E. Brown, PhD

I really can’t say enough good things about spices. Spice up any dish instantly – versatile flavors for meats, veggies, and dressings, adding instant deliciousness! Preferred spices for taste also benefit your bones.

Here’s a look at what’s in my bone-supporting spice rack:

Cinnamon. Studies of this warm, fragrant spice show that it reduces bone breakdown and may help prevent osteoporotic bone loss. Sprinkle it on apples or frozen bananas, add it to tea or coffee, put some in your yogurt — it works well in savory dishes as well as sweet, so don’t hesitate to try it on meat or in soups.

Cloves. Cloves are nutrient-rich and great for maintaining bone health since they include vitamin K, manganese, and omega-3 fatty acids. Baking, stir fry or hot apple cider, this spice adds warmth to wintry delights.

Garlic. There’s almost nothing this spice can’t do — it has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. And it’s packed with key bone nutrients — from Vitamins A, B6, C, and K to phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc, calcium, and iron. Studies of garlic (both raw and in supplements) have found it to lower blood pressure and cholesterol and even help prevent toxicity from lead poisoning. It’s a staple in many soups, dips, or sauces — or you can roast it and eat it as-is. Many people even enjoy it raw!

Ginger. This spice, widely used in Asian cooking, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions too, as well as significant amounts of potassium, magnesium, selenium, and phosphorus — all good for bone health. Make it into a tea, or slice it thinly and cook it in stir fry or with fish.

Turmeric. A favorite of Indian and South Asian cuisine, this spice helps protect the body from oxidative stress that leads to cell damage, bone loss, and disease. It has a number of compounds that offer immune system benefits — the best known is curcumin, but there are others too. Use it in curries, toss it with rice, or add it to cooked vegetables.

What are some of your favorite ways to spice up your foods?

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