Sure, eating a clean diet gives you the fuel to feel great, ease inflammation, and melt body fat.
But sometimes eating clean can use a bit of flavor. Using anti-inflammatory spices is your best way to get some tasty variety in your diet. Spices like turmeric, ginger, and rosemary add flavor and ramp up the healing properties of dishes. At least that’s what they’re supposed to do. There may be one big problem though…
You have to know where your spices come from. Otherwise, you’re probably not eating as cleanly as you think. In fact, you might be eating some pretty disgusting—not to mention dangerous—stuff.
In the United States, the spice industry made over $9 billion last year alone. That’s a lot of flavor sprinkled around. But it’s not just flavor you might be putting on your food.
Shocking new findings about the spices in your pantry will make you think twice about where you get them from.
Roughly 12 percent of all imported spices are contaminated. This can include everything from whole insects to feces. Bat hair even made it into the mix. The FDA found salmonella in 7 percent of imported spices.
Yeah, we’re grossed out too.
Almost 1.2 million Americans become ill from salmonella exposure each year. It’s not something you ever want to deal with.
Though imported spices are more dangerous, it doesn’t mean that domestic brands are immune.
In July 2013, a company in California recalled over one thousand cases of its oregano because of salmonella contamination.
So what can you do?
Instead of buying your spices in a bottle or jar, try finding fresh, whole seasonings. They may not last as long but they’ll taste much better. And most fresh spices, roots and herbs can be frozen so they’ll keep longer.
If you need to buy dried spices, lower your risk of contaminants by buying organic. Replace your dried spices regularly. If you open the jar and you can’t smell the spice, it’s stale. You’ll want to throw it out. It’s not doing your food or you any good.
Of course the best solution is to grow your own spices. Gardening can be relaxing and rewarding. You may also find that nothing can match the taste of a garden fresh herb that you grew yourself.
Some of the easiest herbs and spices to grow in your garden are basil, mint, and garlic. But try expanding your horizons with other easy herbs like dill and fennel to add more flavor dimensions to your meals.
You’ll also benefit from all the live nutrients that come from fresh foods. And eating fresh, organic spices makes sure your foods don’t come with unexpected surprises.