Before I started investigating what’s in my food, I had no idea there were several harmful ingredients lurking in my spice cabinet!
Spices have incredible medicinal properties including curbing hunger (cayenne), boosting metabolism (paprika), killing cancer cells (turmeric) and fighting inflammation (cinnamon), but these benefits are more likely to be realized if the spices are purchased and consumed correctly.
Conventional Spices Contain Harmful Ingredients
There are many reasons for adding spices to food, including enhancing flavor, boosting nutritional value, and also preserving freshness. Unfortunately, when we buy conventional spices, they often contain more negative qualities than positive. Like conventional food found in supermarkets, many of the spices we find on the shelves are treated with chemicals, contain GMOs and are irradiated. Virtually all conventional spices sold in the United States are fumigated [sterilized] with hazardous chemicals that are banned in Europe.
What is Irradiation?
Food irradiation is the process of using radiation to kill bacteria and other contaminants. But while radiation is used to reduce bacteria in the spices we are consuming, the finished product has decreased levels of vitamins and natural enzymes. Irradiation changes the chemical composition of a spice, potentially creating toxic, carcinogenic by-products in the food and increasing our exposure to free radicals. Free radicals cause aging and disease – something we want to avoid at all costs!
How To Buy Spices Safely
With that said, it’s extremely important to fill our pantries with spices that promote health, rather than take away from it. Below are strategies for buying spices to make flavorful dishes, promote health and limit your exposure to hidden toxins.
- Always buy organic spices – not only will they not have toxic pesticides, but they also will not be irradiated. Organic spices cannot have genetically engineered ingredients (GMOs), artificial colors, preservatives, and other synthetic anti-caking agents. (Some of my favorite spice companies include - Simply Organic, Frontier, and various store-brands that are organic.)
- Buy spices from the bulk bin to get the most bang for your buck. Buying a small amount ensures the spices will be used in an appropriate amount of time.
- Check the expiration date. Spices, unlike wine, do not get better with age. Make sure you clean out your pantry often to avoid using expired spices. With age, spices lose their powerful benefits.
- Replace conventional spices as soon as possible. If your spice cabinet is full of conventional spices, start to buy organic spices for each new recipe you make week after week, eventually you’ll have a whole new assortment of organic spices to choose from.
Share This Info With Everyone You Know!
If you know someone who could use a spice cabinet spruce up, please share this post with them. They will hopefully love you for it.