Spice Up Your Food and Your Health


Our culture is finally starting to view the food that we eat as a potential medicine chest. Every day, scientists are discovering more and more that certain herbs, spices, and leaves offer curative powers that can help us overcome disease. These spices originated in India, Indonesia and other parts of Southeast Asia. Indian cuisine often relies on 10–20 spices in just one recipe.

Bharat B. Aggarwal, Ph.D., author of Healing Spices, says, “Sanskrit writings from the India of 3,000 years ago describe the varied, therapeutic uses of spices, and ancient medical texts from China are filled with remedies using spices for hundreds of ailments.” In researching my cookbook, I came to understand and appreciate the value of spices. Today modern medical and nutritional researchers are discovering unimaginable riches of health in spices.

Three spices that I use heavily—garlic, turmeric, and mustard— are loaded with age-defying FoodTrients. Garlic’s power to prevent diseases like stroke, cancer, and heart failure comes from the FoodTrient allicin. Allicin helps keep your blood platelets from sticking together, lowers your cholesterol, and reduces plaque buildup in your arteries.

Turmeric is full of the FoodTrient curcumin, which reduces inflammation in the arteries and joints and helps prevent certain cancers. You can make turmeric juice or add some to a marinade for fish or chicken.

Mustard is made up of sulfur compounds, which support joints and connective tissues, and is a great ingredient to add to salad dressings and marinades, or to use as a condiment for meats and sandwiches. I also include spices like black pepper, cinnamon, and cloves in my recipes for their therapeutic effects and high levels of antioxidants.

I recently found two sources for buying organic spices and I want to share them with you. Spicely packs its organic, non-genetically modified products without adding any artificial colors, MSG, cornstarch, or preservatives. Their products are kosher, vegan, gluten-free, and packed in eco-friendly recycled containers. Red Monkey produces all-natural organic spice blends without any additives. They specialize in interesting spice blends like a mango habanera rub for meats that includes orange peel, turmeric, and natural smoke flavor.

You may not realize it, but salt can have beneficial properties, if you buy the right salt. I like the pink salt mined from the Himalayan Mountains because it contains iron, magnesium, potassium, and copper—minerals that our bodies need to function properly. A company called Himalania imports all-natural Himalayan salt in coarse and fine grinds. It can be found at Whole Foods and Sur La Table nationwide.

Hippocrates, a Greek physician who practiced medicine over 2,000 years ago (and from whom we derived the Hippocratic oath to do no harm to patients), is credited with writing, “Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.” I say: let your spice box be where you begin building your FoodTrients medicine chest.



About Grace O

Grace O has been cooking and baking professionally and recreationally all of her adult life. As a child in Southeast Asia, she learned the culinary arts by her mother’s side in her family’s cooking school. She became so well versed in hospitality and the culinary arts, she eventually took over the cooking school and opened three restaurants. She is widely credited with popularizing shrimp on sugar-cane skewers and being one of the first culinarians to make tapas a global trend. She has cooked for ruling families and royalty. Grace O’s move to America precipitated a career in healthcare, inspired by her father, who was a physician. Twenty years and much hard work later, she operates skilled nursing facilities in California. Grace O strives to create flavorful food using the finest ingredients that ultimately lead to good health. Her recipes, although low in saturated fat, salt, and sugar, are high in flavor. Grace employs spices from all over the world to enliven her dishes, creating food that is different and delicious. She believes that food can be just as effective at fighting aging as the most expensive skin creams. And since she’s over 50 herself, she’s living proof of that. foodtrients.com
What Do FoodTrients Do?
Ai Anti- inflammatories

Reduce inflammatory process in cells, tissues, and blood vessels, helping to slow aging and reduce risk of long-term disease.

Ao Anti- oxidant

Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals.

IB Immunity Boosters

Support the body’s resistance to infection and strengthen immune vigilance and response.

MB Mind

Improves mood, memory, and focus.

F Disease Prevention

Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases.