If you are looking for natural and organic ways to be super healthy, spices and herbs are exactly what you need! Not only are they responsible for keeping you healthy, but they are also great energy boosters and painkillers.
Herbs and Spices are considered the most nutrient dense food right after organ meats. They are great for using on your meals, whether cooked or raw, and there are no limited amounts of recipes for any of these. They are full of antioxidants and some of their most important benefits are that they reduce inflammation, they control blood sugar levels and appetite, they strengthen the immune system, improve digestion and cholesterol.
We’ve picked the best herbs and spices that enhance your post-workout recovery, give you a pre-workout energy boost and some that help grow muscle tissue and provide support when working out.
These herbs and spices will not grow your muscles on their own, but they are of great help if they are frequently used in your meals and dishes. Many of these are also used in traditional medicine and home remedies, so they also have additional benefits that can improve your lifestyle overall.
1. Flax Seeds
Flax Seeds contain a concentrated level of protein which is essential to building muscle. In addition, it also contains potassium, zinc, iron, vitamin E, and magnesium, and it’s packed with alpha linolenic acid that increases insulin sensitivity in muscles. Many elite athletes use flax seeds in their diet because they enhance energy, help with a faster recovery and improve oxygen flow within the body.
2. Rose Root
Or Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogen herb that enhances and benefits the secretion of enzymes and RNA which are vital for muscle growth. It also stimulates muscle protein synthesis and anabolic activity, which is necessary for muscle growth and strength building. It is a very potent herb and if used in a daily regimen, it helps in lowering cortisol levels (the stress hormone). In addition, it helps burn fat and helps you fight depression.
3. Ground Cloves
Ground cloves have some of the highest ORAC values and they are great for digestion, as they stimulate the stomach to secrete its HCL acid, necessary for proper nutrient absorption and food breakdown.
It was long used as a traditional remedy for pain because of its analgesic and antibacterial properties that come from the presence of Eugenol. This why it is also considered one of the most potent common herbs for anti-inflammatory purposes.
4. Cayenne Pepper
Paprika is a well-known metabolism booster because of the capsaicin compound. This makes it a great painkiller and a great thermogenic stimulant - with a little bit of a hot punch. That hot punch is actually a great appetite suppressant and it is a great ally for those who prefer spicy foods.
It is also great for cardiovascular health, as it gets your blood pumping and helps with the dilation of blood vessels. It is great for pre-workout use especially because of its kick in thermogenics and blood flow. If you are not a fan of foods spiced with paprika, you can easily find Capsaicin supplements anywhere on the market.
Garlic is both a great painkiller and a metabolic booster. While it's most famous for being a vampire repellent, it has powerful antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. This increases the immune system and if constantly used in your diet, it will provide you with better health over time.
It also increases blood flow and reduces blood pressure. It contains chemical compounds that work similarly to ibuprofen in closing inflammatory pathways. It also kills yeast and pathogenic bacteria. What makes garlic special is hydrogen sulfide and Allicin, powerful compounds not found in many other foods. These are most potent only if garlic is consumed fresh and not in the form of flakes or garlic powder.
Cinnamon improves insulin sensitivity, glycemic control and it helps store carbs as muscle instead of fat. It helps increase muscle mass if used in frequent meals, even if put in coffee or yogurt snacks.
It is also great for bone density: 1 tablespoon of cinnamon contains 78mg of calcium! It also contains Eugenol, which makes it both a great anesthetic and antiseptic ingredient, recommended for muscle soreness.
These herbs and spices used as seasoning are great in helping you recover faster, build muscle and boost your metabolism. One great thing is that they also come in pill form, which is a concentrated version of themselves. However, some like garlic are most potent when consumed fresh and raw, not cooked, as heat reduces the potency of its chemical compounds (up to 50%!).
As you may have noticed, all of these have great additional benefits other than simply helping with pain relief, muscle mass, and metabolic boosts. While flax seed and rose root are great for building muscle mass, they have other benefits such as increasing blood flow and fighting depression.
Cinnamon, garlic and paprika help boost your metabolism and kick your energy levels up, but they also fight the common cold and other viral illnesses. And while ground cloves may be the most common painkiller nature can provide, it also helps digestion which is mandatory for someone who trains a lot and is focused on a proper diet.
Use them to reduce inflammation, oxidation, and prevent disease. They should not be relied on as treatment or supplements, as they are meant to use in correlation with a healthy diet and overall lifestyle.
Do you use herbs and spices to help with your workout? Are they among the ones we mentioned above? Let us know!