Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, and Allspice, the spices typically used in a Pumpkin Spice blend, individually each have some excellent health benefits and are delicious. They are power-packed when combined. Tiffany Chou, a registered dietitian at Cape Cod Healthcare’s JML long-term care facility, outlined these benefits in the Cape Cod Health News.
Cinnamon – “It has antioxidants and some anti-inflammatory capacity. It’s like a natural preservative for us. Some studies show it can reduce LDL, which is the bad cholesterol. Other studies show that cinnamon can improve the sensitivity of insulin so it’s better able to regulate our blood sugar levels.”
Nutmeg – “Nutmeg also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. One of the interesting things about nutmeg is that it may boost our mood because it has an antidepressant effect. Nutmeg also contains small amounts of fiber, B vitamins and minerals. Too much nutmeg can cause side effects that include hallucination and rapid heartbeat, but the amount in a pumpkin spice is far too small for that.”
Ginger – “Ginger is highly regarded in traditional medicine. It treats nausea and morning sicknesses, and it also has an anti-inflammatory factor. It may lower blood sugar and LDL. Another interesting thing is that it improves brain function. One study showed that it improves brain function for people who have Alzheimer's disease.”
Allspice – “Allspice actually comes from a small berry. It has antioxidants and can soothe an upset stomach and reduce bloating.”
When deciding if you should indulge in a Pumpkin Spice treat, Chou cautioned to be mindful of the sugar content. “Feel free to have some treats, just remember to keep the portions small and choose carefully,” she said. “A 16-ounce pumpkin spice latte has 50 grams of sugar in it. That would not be a good option for people who have diabetes, or really anybody.”
Food Network has also highlighted the benefits of Pumpkin Spice with an article titled Health Benefits of Pumpkin Spice, As a bonus, they provided a recipe to make your own Pumpkin Spice Blend as detailed below! The addition of cardamom gives this blend another layer of natural sweetness.
DIY Pumpkin Spice Blend
Makes about 1/2 cup
1/4 cup ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cloves
Directions: Combine spices in a bowl and mix well. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.