A Sprinkle of Health

Add anticancer spices to your meals

A Sprinkle of Health

Are the jars on your spice rack collecting dust? Can’t remember the last time you broke out the cardamom or coriander? It’s time to get reacquainted with these pantry powerhouses—not just for their flavors, but also for their health benefits.

Researchers are exploring the cancer protective properties of common kitchen spices like cinnamon, turmeric and fennel. In fact, all the spices used in these recipes (or components of the spices) have shown promise in studies.

Don’t like spicy food? Don’t worry: for these recipes, spicy isn’t referring to heat level—just a lovely, subtle flavor. Plus, few of the spices used work together, increasing the health benefits of one another and adding complexity to the dish’s taste.

You’re just a pinch or two away from flavorful, health-promoting meals.

Golden Banana Spice Shake


This spicy-sweet shake works as well for breakfast as it does for a snack or dessert. Cardamom lends a chai tea-like flavor to the mix, while turmeric gives plenty of health benefits and a sunshiny hue. Black pepper is added to increase the bioavailability of turmeric and the anticancer effect of cardamom—and to spice things up a touch more.

1 cup (250 mL) unsweetened nondairy milk, plus more to thin, if necessary

1 banana, peeled, sliced and frozen

2 very soft Medjool dates, pitted and torn

1 Tbsp (15 mL) tahini (sesame seed paste)

1/4 tsp (1 mL) vanilla extract

1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground cardamom

1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground turmeric

1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) ground black pepper

2 ice cubes


Add all ingredients to blender in order listed. Blend on high until smooth and creamy, adding additional milk if thinner drink is desired. Serve immediately.

Each serving contains: 371 calories; 6 g protein; 11 g total fat (1 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 69 g total carbohydrates (47 g sugars, 9 g fiber); 190 mg sodium

Tri-Spiced Oat and Applesauce Pancakes


These oat-filled flapjacks are armed with cinnamon, ginger and allspice, making them a sweet and stackable way to promote good health.

2 cups (500 mL) quick-cooking rolled oats

2 Tbsp (30 mL) raw-style sugar

2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder

1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp (2 mL) ground ginger

1/4 tsp (1 mL) ground allspice

1/8 tsp (0.5 mL) salt

1 cup (250 mL) milk or unsweetened nondairy milk

1/2 cup (125 mL) unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup (60 mL) sour cream or plain yogurt

1 large egg

1 Tbsp (15 mL) coconut oil


Preheat oven to 200 F (95 C). Line large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Blend rolled oats in blender or food processor until fine flour forms.

In large bowl, combine oat flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt. In medium bowl, whisk together milk, applesauce, sour cream or yogurt and egg; add to flour mixture and whisk together.

Preheat large skillet or griddle pan to medium. Add thin layer of oil (don’t use it all). Ladle pancake batter into pan to make pancakes of desired size; cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and keep warm in oven until ready to serve. Repeat with remaining batter and oil, adding thin layer of oil with each batch for cooking.

Serve warm with maple syrup, if desired.

Each serving contains: 338 calories; 10 g protein; 11 g total fat (5 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 51 g total carbohydrates (12 g sugars, 4 g fiber); 288 mg sodium

Honey-Orange Spiced Carrot Salad


Moroccan cuisine is known for its heavy-handed application of spices, making the dishes of North Africa ideal inspirations for healthy home cooking. This carrot salad is influenced by the Moroccan spice route and is a textural winner.

To add another element of sweetness, toss in a handful of raisins, currants or sliced dried apricots.

1 cup (250 mL) walnut halves, roughly chopped

1 Tbsp (15 mL) whole coriander seed

1 Tbsp (15 mL) whole fennel seed

3 Tbsp (45 mL) orange juice

2 Tbsp (30 mL) extra-virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp (15 mL) honey

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

1 lb (450 g) carrots, shaved into ribbons with a vegetable peeler or coarsely grated

1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped fresh cilantro or mint


Place walnuts and seeds in large high-sided skillet. Toast over medium heat until fragrant (1 to 2 minutes). Immediately transfer to large bowl.

In small bowl, whisk orange juice, oil, honey and salt until combined.

Add carrots and cilantro or mint to walnuts and seeds; toss to combine. Add dressing and toss to coat. Serve immediately or chill until ready to serve.

Each serving contains: 327 calories; 6 g protein; 27 g total fat (3 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 22 g total carbohydrates (11 g sugars, 6 g fiber); 226 mg sodium