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Senior Health: Spices & Herbs with Healing Powers

By Dian Brannen, 8:00 am on

Spices and herbs can add robust flavor to dishes, but they can also positively impact health. If you provide home care for a senior parent or loved one, adding the following ingredients into your loved one’s daily diet can promote overall health, helping to heal some of the common ailments affecting the senior population.

  1. Sage – Sage has been linked to improved mood and memory in seniors, reducing the risk for Alzheimer’s by improving cognitive functions. Adding sage to meals a few times a week also helps the digestive system, and can stave off depression and mental disorders.
  2. Cinnamon – The powerful antioxidant properties in cinnamon protect the heart, and most notably help improve blood sugar control in diabetes patients. Studies have shown that cinnamon may be especially helpful in protecting against dementia and Alzheimer’s as the spice helps prevent the formation of amyloid plaques in the brain, enhancing overall functioning and preserving brain health.
  3. Cayenne – The oily and peppery compound in Cayenne is the active ingredient in a number of over-the-counter medications for the treatment of arthritis and muscle pain and can offer the same healing benefits when added to regular meals. Cayenne can even be used to treat pain related to shingles and diabetes, and has been known to help clear congestion in the nose and throat from the flu.
  4. Ginger – Ginger is a spice that has been used from ancient times through modern days with great results. It is a natural digestive aid that can settle the stomach, calm nausea, alleviate pain, and protect seniors from getting gastric ulcers.
  5. Turmeric – The active ingredient in turmeric is the antioxidant curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory properties, helping to ease the symptoms of rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. Research also shows that this spice may have the power to block certain types of tumors, such as those associated with colorectal cancer.
  6. Garlic – The sulfur compound, which gives garlic its distinct smell, is responsible for most of the herb’s medicinal powers. Along with reducing cholesterol, this compound safely thins the blood to reduce the risk for dangerous clots and protect the heart. It has also been known to flush out carcinogens before they damage cells, which makes it a wonderful cancer-fighting herb.

Spices and herbs can be easily added to a senior’s regular meals to add flavor and protect the body’s cells and immune system. To learn more about healthy senior eating and diet plans, reach out to Home Care Assistance of the Lehigh Valley at 484-350-3874 and learn how our trained and professional caregivers can assist your aging parent or loved one with daily activities in the comfort of home.