Heya Hiya!!! It's Shonte here!!
Living with MBC there are side effects to the side effects, some affect our hearts, skin or digestion. Many side effects can be combated naturally, while others we need to go into our western medicine box. I like to dip into both. I sought some advice from a Oncology nutritionist at the beginning of this MBC journey 6 years ago when I was diagnosed De Novo. I wanted to curate a cool list of some spices and their health benefits. You're more than welcome to seek them out to use if you prefer. I know there are some dietary restrictions based off the type of treatment we are on, so be mindful and always consult with your provider. Most of these spices can be grown right in a pot on your patio/deck/backyard/indoors. I love to grow them at my farm. Another tidbit about spices is that the more you add to your foods, the tastier it will become and the less salt you will need to consume which is ultimately a good factor. There is this misconception that salt is the spice we need for flavor.
What is a spice?
Any seed, fruit, root, bark, or other plant substance primarily used for flavoring or coloring food. Spices are distinguished from herbs, which are the leaves, flowers, or stems of plants used for flavoring or as a garnish.
Ginger- a kinda sorta ( I say kinda sorta because it's really a rhizome which is an underground stem) root spice that has tons of benefits. I love to use it in my smoothies and teas. You can have it fresh, dried or powdered. Powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Helps reduce nausea (stay away from those sugary “ginger ales”) just boil a piece of ginger
root in some water and sip on that. It helps empty out the stomach to reduce indigestion
aka heartburn. Another cholesterol fighter but it works particularly well with lowering your Low Density Lipoprotein LDL (the lousy/bad cholesterol), normal range shouln't be above 100. Ginger is also good in helping fight viruses such as the common cold, flu etc.
Mint- Not only is it aromatic it tastes so good and soothes so well. There are 600 varieties of mint (peppermint, chocolate mint, spearmint, apple mint, pineapple mint etc), so have at it!! I bet you didn't even know basil is considered one of the mint family members. The many benefits of mint are improved digestion, weight loss, relief from nausea, depression, fatigue, and headache. So basically pop some mint, your breath will be fresh and your tummy will love you. Jazz up some water, or garnish it on some savory dishes.
Garlic- This is my absolute favorite, it's almost a representation of my personality. Strong, bold and at times spicy. If your palate can take it, I love to eat this raw at its true essence. This spice has been used for centuries and it can be the foundation of a healthy immune system. I like to cook with this and add it to my smoothies. The main benefits include immune system boosting, fighting buildup of cholesterol in particular the High Density Lipoprotein HDL (I like to call them my happy/good cholesterol) the higher that number the better, the goal is to achieve 40 or higher, I think my last lab test was 70!!! Talk about a happy ass heart. Garlic also is a natural antimicrobial, antifungal!!! Eat the garlic crushed or smashed and it will release all the healthy properties. A garlic a day keeps the immune system in pristine condition.
Cayenne pepper- Just like the Spice Girls say….Spice up your life!! Want some heat and health at the same damn time?! Medicinal in nature, cayenne peppers are in the nightshade family along with their cousins green peppers and jalapenos. Capsaicin is the active ingredient, this will be helpful in boosting metabolism especially for the hormone positive folks. We understand how we can gain some weight due to being placed into menopause. Cayenne can also help reduce hunger, I don't know about you but I honor my appetite, but if you're on a weight loss journey, it can be helpful. I know we always hear spicy foods cause ulcers, well this pepper will actually help you reduce the risk of ulcers. If pain is a pain in your ass, this will help reduce pain by reducing substance P in the body that signals the brain to “lay off!” Add this spice to some eggs, a salad, or a soup.
Sage- Got the chemo brain blues. This herb is not only used around the holidays, it also provides a boost of flavor in any savory dish. It will help improve memory and brain function. Add this to your favorite marinade, I promise your palate will agree.
There are many more, here's an inclusive list of all the spices. https://www.britannica.com/topic/list-of-herbs-and-spices-2024392
Remember to always try to get the purest form of these products (little processing) to get the full range of its benefits.
Until Next time Folks!!!