3 Underrated Spices You Should Be Using, with Major Health Benefits

By Isadora Baum

If you're looking to add some heat and flavor in the kitchen, you can't go wrong with the spice rack. Though, while you've probably been using garlic, onion, and turmeric, before, there are a few different types of spices that deserve some extra love. (If you're curious, here are some common spices that can really enhance those flavors when cooking.)

And, certain spices might be better for different foods, too. For instance, when you're cooking beans, you might want to use black pepper, cumin, lemongrass, or ginger, depending on the ways the beans are being used. It might taste better with certain flavors if you're making a bean soup, adding beans to barbecue, or simply eating as a side out of the can (always rinsed!!!).

Yet, the best way to know how to use spices is by experimenting in the kitchen, where you're playing with different tastes and textures. And, sure, you can stick to the ones you know best, but you can add some new, underrated spices to your cooking, as well. Who knows, you might find a few new favorite recipes!

Cumin

"It helps aid digestion, improve immunity, and is good for your skin," says Jeanette Kimszal, RD. "It also can help with insomnia and respiratory disorders, like asthma and bronchitis," she adds.

Cumin is a great spice to use in different dishes, too, as it's flavor can match different cuisines and textures. It is often found in a lot of Mexican and Indian cooking. "I will add it to my taco seasoning, or I like to add it vegetables, like broccoli or cauliflower in conjunction with garlic and curry," she says.

And, you can even make it as a dressing for salads. "I'll add a dash of cumin to olive and vinegar," she says.

Pink Himalayan Sea Salt

Skip regular table salt, and say goodbye to plain old sea salt. Instead, grab some pink Himalayan sea salt, which has many benefits and a fun color. "Packed with naturally occurring minerals and electrolytes, Himalayan sea salt is far superior than any other salt on the market (and it tastes just as salty)," says food blogger Simple Green Moms .

Why is it pink? "It's just all those minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium showing their true colors," she says. And the benefits are clear: the electrolyte properties will keep the body hydrated and balanced.

Anise

If you like licorice, but don't want to eat all that sugar from the candy itself, using anise as a spice is your best bet. And, you can even drink anise tea, which will settle the stomach and ease digestion. (Or, one of these teas will also work.)

"Known to help with asthma, coughs, nausea and digestive pain (just to name a few!), anise is a little spice that packs a big punch both in flavor and health benefits. Use it in cakes, make some mulled wine or rub it into steak," she says.