Spices, Seeds and Other Natural Condiments - An Easy Way to Increase Your Daily Nutrition

November 15, 2013


Finding that some of the vitamins I have been taking in my prenatal vitamins are synthetic, despite the fact that the vitamins are labeled all natural, I have decided to get off my prenatal vitamins after finding no real answers as to where some of them came from and turned more to wholesome food for my nutrition. For example, most prenatal vitamins contain folic acid, which is a synthetic form of folate and has been linked to increased risk of cancer.[1]


However, as you may already know it is not always easy to get all the necessary vitamins and minerals from our diet now days. But I have discovered a few easy tricks to add additional nutrition to my daily meals which I wanted to share with all of you. These easy "tricks" are: spices, seeds and other natural condiments. 




I love spices! I grew up with Indian food and love pretty much all the various spices it encompasses. I use a lot of spices on the daily basis. My favorites are: cinnamon, nutmeg, chilly or cayenne, and, of course, turmeric. Using these spices daily not only makes your dishes more colorful and esthetically pleasing but adds significantly to their taste and apparently, as I have just learned, their nutrition.


Lets look at the nutrition of a few commonly used spices:


1 tbsp of cinnamon contains 68% of your daily-recommended intake of manganese, 8% of your calcium intake, 4% of your iron as well as 16% of your dietary fiber.[2] Cinnamon is pretty easy to use. I use it on my hot drinks, such as tea, coffee or hot chocolate and baking goods and breakfasts.


1 tsp of chilly powder contains 15% of your daily-recommended intake of vitamin A and 5% of vitamin B6. [3] Use chilly powder on any of your meals to add some heat and enjoy!


If you prefer red pepper or cayenne you can get 15% of your daily-recommended dose of vitamin A through 1 tsp of red or cayenne pepper.


If chilly or cayenne peppers are a little too hot for you, try paprika, it is very flavorful and yet on a sweeter side of peppers.


1 tbsp of paprika contains an amazing 71% of your daily-recommended dose of vitamin A, 4% of vitamin B6, 10% of vitamin E, 10% of dietary fiber and 9% of iron.[4]


1 tbsp of turmeric contains 26% of your daily-recommended dose of manganese and a surprising 16% of iron.[5]


You may prefer to use curry powder instead of individual turmeric, as it contains the yellow spice together with a few other, creating a flavorful combination.


1 tbsp of curry powder contains 13% of your daily-recommended manganese and 10% of iron.


Here is a link for additional spices, if you are interested to find out their nutritional values -




Just like spices, seeds can be added to your meals to make them more flavorful. For example I like to sprinkle these seeds on my pancakes in the morning, my salads and other foods throughout the day.


1 ounce (about 3 tbsp) of flaxseeds contains 31% of your daily-recommended dose of thiamin, 10% of protein, 35% of manganese, 27% of magnesium, 18% of phosphorus, 10% of selenium, 9% of iron and smaller percentages of various other vitamins and minerals.[6] Flaxseed also contains significant amounts of Omega-3 which are important to our body’s health and function.


1 ounce (about 3 tbsp) of sesame seeds contains 57% of your daily-recommended dose of copper, 34% of manganese, 27% of calcium, 25% of magnesium, 23% of iron, 18% of phosphorus, 14% of zinc, 15% of thiamin, 11% of vitamin B6 and 10% of protein.[7]


1 ounce (about 3 tbsp) of hemp seed contains 45% of your daily recommended magnesium, 21% of zinc, 15% of iron and 21% of protein.[8]


1 ounce (about 3 tbsp) of sunflower seeds contains 37% of your daily recommended vitamin E, 32% of phosphorus, 32% of selenium, 30% of manganese, 26% of copper, 20% of pantothenic acid, 17% of folate, 11% of vitamin B6, 10% of niacin, 10% of zinc and 11% of protein.


Other Natural Condiments


There are a few other condiments that can be used to improve your nutrition in an easy and tasty way. For example: 


1 ounce (about 3 tbsp) of wheat bran contains 161% of your daily-recommended dose of manganese, 43% of magnesium, 31% of selenium, 28% of phosphorus, 19% of niacin, 18% of vitamin B6, 16% of iron, 14% of zinc, 14% of copper, 10% of thiamin and 10% of riboflavin.[9]


1 tsp of baker’s yeast contains 23% of your recommended dose of folate and 13% of riboflavin.


Thus, with simply adding these seeds, spices and other condiments you can add much needed nutrition to your daily meals and achieve optimum health. Happy eating! 



P.S. Although I have stopped taking my prenatal, I am still taking a supplement of natural folate, as it is harder to get enough of it from your diet and it is so important for baby's development and therefore is recommended to be taken by women before, during and after her pregnancy. I am also taking krill oil for my Omega 3s, vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol), and probiotic (I take Life Ultimate Flora Critical Care 50 Billion). This probiotic is pretty expensive, as you can see if you follow the link (press on the name above) and you might not need the expense and strength of this product. The reason I take it is because I had a gallbladder surgery this year and my digestive process still needs a helping hand. So try a few out and see what works for you. Here is a coupon for Vitacost that will save you $10 off your order of $30 or more - Click here










[1] Chris Kresser, A Little Known (but crucial) Difference Between Folate and Folic Acid (March 9, 2012)

[2] Spices, cinnamon.

[3] Spices, chilly. - (please note you will have to indicate a proper amount on the top left of the page to get the same values as used here, I used 1 tsp for chilly powder, please do the same with the rest of the citations)

[4] Spices, paprika.

[5] Spices, turmeric.

[6] Seeds, flaxseed.

[7] Seeds, sesame.

[8] Seeds, hemp seed.

[9] Wheat bran, crude.



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