5 Health Benefits Of Pumpkin Spice, Broken Down By Its Amazing Ingredients
As much as I'd love to consider myself too cool for something as ~basic~ as pumpkin spice, I truly, genuinely, unabashedly love sprinkling it on pretty much any sweet food I enjoy during the fall season. If you can relate, then I have some good news for you: According to at least two experts, your infatuation with pumpkin spice everything might be boosting your health with some pretty significant perks. Honestly, the health benefits of pumpkin spice are sure to make you fall even more in love with the tasty blend — if that's even possible.
What's even cooler, though, is that according to Amanda Montalvo, an in-house registered dietitian and functional nutrition practitioner at Kettlebell Kitchen, you don't have to go that wild on pumpkin spice to reap its health benefits. Just one to two grams of the stuff, she tells Elite Daily over email, is enough to boost your well-being.
That being said, it's important to be wary of what you eat with pumpkin spice. "These spices are likely to have modest beneficial effect when consumed in typical amounts," Shauna Keeler, a registered dietitian and graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, tells Elite Daily in an email. However, she adds, pumpkin spice is typically included in sugary baked goods and drinks, and if the spice is "eaten alongside large amounts of added sugar, beneficial effects may be overshadowed by the inflammatory effects of the sugar," Keeler explains.
So, as much as it pains me to say this, that probably means drinking a PSL isn't exactly the healthiest way to reap the overall benefits of pumpkin spice. Luckily, adding the mixture to oatmeal or homemade banana bread is just as tasty.
Here are the health benefits of pumpkin spice, broken down by some of its main ingredients.
Ginger fixes literally everything
TBH, I used to be vehemently anti-ginger because of its sharp taste, but after discovering that it helped me fight carsickness, I changed my mind. And reducing nausea is just one of this spice's many awesome perks. In addition to settling an upset stomach, Montalvo says ginger is an inflammatory powerhouse. "One of the greatest benefits of ginger is its ability to reduce inflammation," she explains, "which makes it beneficial for conditions such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, etc."
You might think that fresh is best when it comes to harnessing ginger's benefits, but according to Keeler, the dried form that's in your pumpkin spice blend is even better. "Powdered forms of ginger are more concentrated," she tells Elite Daily. "About ¼ teaspoon of powdered [ginger] equals about one tablespoon of fresh ginger, but their nutritional effects may be comparable."
Allspice is all-powerful
Allspice is one of those things you've probably heard of, but like, what is it actually? Huffington Post describes it as "a fruit picked before it’s ripe from a tree (the flowering tropical evergreen Pimenta dioica), dried and either sold as whole 'berries' or ground up." And yes, you'll likely find it in a typical pumpkin spice blend.
According to Keeler, allspice, much like ginger, is anti-inflammatory, so it can also help prevent a host of health problems. Additionally, she says, allspice may have an anti-tumor effect on the body, too. One study, published in the medical journal Carcinogenesis, found that something called ericifolin, a compound found in allspice berries, may help fight certain forms of cancer.
Cloves are great for your complexion
"Cloves are unique in that they are especially helpful for fighting candida and have antibacterial properties that make them useful for reducing acne," Montalvo tells Elite Daily.
In fact, a number of beauty websites, including one called Beauty Glimpse, similarly claim that clove oil can transform your skin if you struggle with acne. According to the outlet, "clove is a great healer that has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-septic properties, thus treating your acne problem in a soothing and natural manner."
A little nutmeg def does the body good
As much as I enjoy nutmeg as part of a pumpkin spice blend, I also love using it by itself in pretty much any sweet pastry I make during the fall season. And, according to Montalvo, I'm on the right track, because the spice helps your body absorb calcium, which is crucial for my fellow peeps out there who don't eat dairy.
The benefits don't end there, though. "Nutmeg is rich in manganese, providing 41 percent of the daily value," Montalvo tells Elite Daily. And that's nothing to take for granted, because according to Healthline, manganese is considered an essential nutrient "for the normal functioning of your brain, nervous system and many of your body’s enzyme systems." Montalvo adds, "[Nutmeg] also supports blood clotting, regulating blood sugar, and helping the body metabolize carbohydrates."
Cinnamon keeps your blood sugar in check
"Cinnamon has numerous benefits, but most researched is that cinnamon helps to improve insulin sensitivity," Keeler says. And, of course, that's definitely good to know during autumn, while you're enjoying some of the delicious, sugary, sweet treats that this season has to offer.
Sprinkling a little of this warm spice on overnight oats, or even your coffee, just might help to prevent that gooey cinnamon roll from spiking your blood sugar too much. It's all about that balance, baby.