3:47 PM EST, January 10, 2013
Dear Pharmacist: I ate like a hog over the holiday, and it was wonderful! To spare my guilt, are there any benefits to holiday foods and spices? — D.E., Orlando
Dear D.E.: All those delicious spices have numerous medicinal benefits. Nutmeg can ease indigestion and kills bacteria that causes bad breath. By killing off some nasty intestinal bacteria, there may be less flatulence. Ginger may help prevent colon and ovarian cancer. It seems to help with morning sickness, motion sickness, chronic fatigue, asthma, erectile dysfunction, heartburn, menstrual cramps, even the common cold.
Cinnamon may improve cholesterol ratios, and in particular, lower LDL cholesterol and help stabilize blood sugar (great for Type 2 diabetes). When you balance blood sugar, you control appetite; this translates to possible weight loss, as long as the rest of your diet is the color of a rainbow. Your brain loves cinnamon as much as your taste buds, meaning your memory and brain function could improve. It also has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.
Cloves may very well be the strongest antioxidant known to man. In high enough quantities, compounds in cloves reduce iron. This is good if you have hemochromatosis. Cloves may help with diarrhea, intestinal parasites, thyroid problems, infections and lymphoma.
Pumpkin contains fiber, some antioxidants (like vitamin A, C and E) and B vitamins. Nutrients in pumpkin can reduce the risk of macular degeneration. Pumpkins (and the seeds) are great sex aids. All that zinc supports prostate health, and that's great for men tracking sperm count (for fertility concerns), and men seeking a higher sex drive (I won't mislead you, it doesn't work like Viagra).
Maple syrup is a great substitute for sugar. Even though it's sweet, some of its compounds lower blood sugar and protect our DNA (which could reduce the risk of runaway cells and cancer).
This is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose your condition. Go to SuzyCohen.com.