These Four Spices Will Elevate Your Gut Health

If you're looking to improve your immune system, help your sleep quality, and boost your mood, you may want to start paying attention to your gut (via Healthline). Affecting more than just your digestion, gut health impacts your mental, emotional, and physical well-being. Dr. Tara Menon, a gastroenterologist at Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center, told Time Magazine, "We now know that the GI tract is full of trillions of bacteria that not only help us process food but that also help our bodies maintain homeostasis and overall well-being." 

One of the markers of a healthy gut is the diversity of bacteria found within it, according to Time Magazine. When your gut microbiome's diversity is imbalanced, you may experience skin problems, immune system changes, and constant fatigue (per Healthline).

The diversity of your gut bacteria has an incredibly close relationship with your mental health as well. So close in fact that a 2017 review published in Clinics and Practice reported that probiotics, which help create balance in the gut, may manage anxiety and depression symptoms similar to traditionally prescribed medications (though more research needs to be done). They also found that the gut microbiome imbalance and lack of bacteria diversity affect the central nervous system, which researchers have linked to mental health problems.

While adding probiotics and certain foods to your diet can support healthy gut bacteria, there are also spices you can use to boost gut health as well.

Spices that will improve gut health

Cumin, a savory seasoning typically found in Indian dishes, taco seasonings, and a variety of soups and stews, will not only add smokiness to a dish but can improve your gut health as well. According to MindBodyGreen, cumin can help your digestion because it affects the enzymes that are part of the digestive process.

Fennel is another gut-friendly spice that can be made into a tea or added to soups or salads. Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist Staci Gulbin explained to Cooking Light, "This is likely due to fennel's prebiotic properties that help feed probiotic bacteria, help restore balance in the gut microbiome, and in turn, help improve gut health."   

The pungent flavor and smell of cloves will not only spruce up the spice blend for a seasonal pumpkin pie, but the eugenol found within them has been shown to aid in inflammation and gut health as well (via MindBodyGreen). 

Turmeric, another anti-inflammatory spice, can also support your digestion and gut health. A 2015 study published in the journal Metabolic Brain Disease showed a promising link in rodent models between curcumin, a substance found in turmeric, and improved irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms. In addition, researchers noted an improvement in the stress, depression, and anxiety often associated with IBS.