Spice Up, Live Long: Rumi Spice Talks Benefits of Health & Mission with Dr. Melina Jampolis
Rumi believes in spice as a force for good, inside and out. We are proud to partner with Afghan farmers to bring you delicious, high-quality spices that are as flavorful as they are beneficial to your health and wellness.
Our spices make an impact in the lives of our farmers. By providing job opportunities to produce spices like fennel, cumin, coriander and saffron, Rumi Spice offers a healthier alternative to participating in drug farming. We bring these Afghan harvested spices to our consumers in the form of whole seeds, single spices and blends that fill your food and home with goodness. Just as spices bring good business to our farmers, Rumi spices also bring good health and benefits to your table.
We sat down with Dr. Melina Jampolis, physician and nutrition specialist, to talk about her new book, Spice Up, Live Long: A guide to using herbs and spices to live a longer, healthier and more vibrant life. Dr. Melina shared with us the inspiration for her book, as well as her passion for using spices as a bolster for physical health, and some of her favorite ways to incorporate Rumi Spices into your diet.
Rumi: What are the most common health benefits of incorporating spices into your every day diet?
Dr. Melina: Most spices contain very powerful antioxidants, which are incredibly important for optimal health and healthy aging, as we are constantly...being exposed to free radicals and toxins, which can damage our cells and lead to illness and diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes and dementia. Most Americans don’t get enough antioxidants from their diet on a daily basis, and spices can help boost your daily intake significantly, along with fruit, vegetables, tea, beans, dark chocolate, and coffee.
In addition, most spices help reduce chronic inflammation in the body which has been linked with head-to-toe diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and arthritis, in addition to accelerated skin aging. Many spices also act as prebiotics, meaning they support the good bacteria living in your digestive tract. The importance of a healthy bacterial balance in the gut has emerged over the past decade and we continue to learn more and more about the link between a healthy gut and a reduced risk of diseases throughout the body.
Rumi: We are proud to bring high-quality spices like saffron, cumin and coriander to our consumers. What are some of the benefits of adding these spices to your diet?
Dr. Melina: Saffron is not only one of the most colorful spices, it has numerous potential health benefits, including the ability to support a healthy mood, including anxiety, depression, insomnia and PMS. In addition, one of the active ingredients in saffron helps increase blood flow to the retina in your eye which may decrease the risk of age- related macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older Americans. Saffron may also help reduce cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and even weight control. Finally, the antioxidants in saffron may help protect your skin from the damaging effects of the sun (along with sunscreen of course!).
Cumin is one of my favorite spices, and I add it to anything from guacamole to canned chili. One of its most important benefits is the ability to reduce belly fat by improving your body’s response to insulin. This can also help lower cholesterol, blood sugar, and your risk of diabetes. Cumin also helps improve digestion and may reduce the risk of certain types of cancer including colon cancer.
Coriander, which is the seed from the same plant as cilantro, is also helpful when it comes to controlling blood sugar. In addition, it can also keep your arteries healthier and can also reduce cholesterol, both of which can decrease your risk of heart disease. Coriander is also known for its ability to help with symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and in Germany, it is considered a safe and effective remedy for many digestive complaints. Studies in animals also suggest that coriander can improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and improve memory.
Rumi: What do you wish more people knew about spices?
Dr. Melina: I wish that more people knew that not only do spices improve the taste, smell and color of foods, they add tremendous health benefits, and when used consistently, they really do have the potential to prevent disease and likely help you live longer. I also wish people understood how foods, including spices, have compounds we don’t even know about yet, and these compounds likely work together with other components of a meal so taking a supplement is not the same as eating delicious and healthy food made with spices.
Rumi: What about Rumi Spice led you to recommend the brand as a spice brand in your book?
Dr. Melina: I was introduced to Rumi Spice when I was working on my last book, Spice Up, Slim Down, and I was very impressed by the social mission of the company and their commitment to supporting the Afghan community, especially Afghan women. I have always been a big supporter of businesses that were not only focused on making money, but also on making a difference in the world, and I believe supporting women in the workforce is one of the best ways to make a difference both on the lives of the women, their families, and hopefully future generations.
Rumi: We know you’ve spent some time in Afghanistan yourself: tell us a bit about the work you’ve done with physicians in Afghanistan. Why is this work meaningful to you?
Dr. Melina: About 15 years ago, when I lived in San Francisco, I was working with a non-profit that helped professional women from around the world transition to their respective fields in the United States. I had the honor of working with an incredible female physician from Afghanistan who had fled the country as she was not allowed by the Taliban to practice medicine anymore. I spent quite a bit of time with her hearing about the horrendous situation at the time in her country and the challenges she faced as a woman, and I worked very hard to help her figure out how to work in the medical field in the United States. The work was incredibly meaningful to me as I can’t imagine spending so much time training to be a physician and having that taken away from you in an instant.
We are so excited to partner with Dr. Melina and share in our missions and love of healthful, flavorful foods that make a social impact. Read the full story on Spice Up, Live Long, and our partnership.
We’ve also worked with Dr. Melina to bring one of her favorite healthy and flavorful dishes to life using Rumi Spice Black Cumin. Check out Dr. Melina and Chef Aaron Robbins’ recipe for Chicken Curry here.
You can discover more of Dr. Melina’s expertise on the long-term health benefits of spices in her book, Spice Up, Live Long: A guide to using herbs and spices to live a longer, healthier and more vibrant life. Shop the book now on Amazon, and head to our Instagram to enter our exclusive giveaway and win your own copy! (Entries valid through August 5, 2021)