Ask The Muscle Cook: What Are Good Spices To Use In A Healthy Diet?

Bodybuilding and fitness nutrition doesn't have to feature the same ol' boiled chicken breasts, baked potatoes and broccoli. Spice things up!


Hey Dave, I'm not sure which spices to use in my healthy diet. Do you have any suggestions?

I certainly do! I wish more people thought about cooking with spices. Quite simply, they're a great way to add flavor and additional nutritional benefits to your meals. Plus, they're calorie-free. If that's not spicy, nothing is!

Which spices you use will largely depend on your taste preferences and the food that you're preparing, but some of my favorites are turmeric, cayenne pepper, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg, and mustard.

Strong is the New Cinny!

Add cinnamon to baked recipes or to a vanilla- based protein smoothie for a dash of blood-sugar control. A sprinkle of cinnamon on your morning oatmeal can help increase your sugar metabolism.

It's cinnfully delicious!

Turmeric for a Tight Tummy

Among a great number of other health benefits, turmeric can reduce inflammation and help you fight fat. Turmeric may also help lower blood-sugar levels.

Turmeric is great on Asian recipes, and gives your food a nice golden color.

Caliente Cayenne

Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, which helps increase your metabolic rate for hours after you consume it. Chili peppers will provide the same benefit.

So, if you're looking for some fat-loss help, make your food hot, hot, hot!
(Some like it hot. I love it.)

Ginger Winner

Ginger is great in stir-fry and can be added to almost any veggie dish for added flavor. It also improves the digestive process and may ease gastric secretions.

She's way better than Mary Ann, anyway.
(Gilligan's Island, anyone? Anyone?)

Black Pepper Beauty

Black pepper stimulates hydrochloric acid secretion in the stomach. Hydrochloric acid is essential for the digestion of proteins and other foods. Without enough hydrochloric acid, your food can sit in your stomach, causing indigestion, gas and other intestinal nasties.

Two teaspoons of black pepper make a great source of manganese and vitamin K.

Nutmeg Ninja

A sprinkle of nutmeg on your morning chai tea might kick more than your taste buds! Nutmeg has antibacterial properties, which means it might be good at killing mouth bacteria that causes cavities. It's also known to aid digestion and relax muscles.

You can actually have too much of a good thing, though - huge doses of nutmeg may cause psychiatric disorders!

Mega Mustard

Hot dogs and mustard: the two go together like peanut butter and jelly. If you aren't into eating processed pork by-products, the mustard alone is something you can feel good about putting in your body.

Mustard seeds are nutrient-dense, high in antioxidants, and contain omega 3 and 6 fatty acids. Consuming mustard seeds may increase metabolism and lower blood pressure.

Add some mustard seeds to sauces, salads and soups.