Pumpkin spice is everywhere this time of year – from the expected items, like cookies, candies, coffee and candles, to the unexpected, like canned meat, liqueur, cleaning products and dog treats.

But pumpkin spice isn’t just a seasonally appropriate seasoning. It can actually be good for you – if you use it right.


Shannon Galyean, registered dietitian nutritionist and an assistant professor in the Texas Tech University Department of Nutritional Sciences



  • The main ingredients in pumpkin spice are cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and ginger. It sometimes also contains allspice.
  • All these ingredients have health benefits:
    • Cinnamon is antioxidant, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and, according to some studies, anti-inflammatory, meaning it can reduce levels of blood sugar, triglycerides and cholesterol. It also can protect brain cells, improving memory and cognition.
    • Nutmeg has been shown to help recover brain tissue in stroke victims.
    • Ginger helps with digestion and nausea.
    • Clove, particularly clove oil, is used for oral health to control infection and pain.
  • Be mindful of the kinds of food being consumed; sweets should still be eaten in moderation.



  • “When we do the lattes and the baked goods, it gets difficult to stay healthy, but there are ways: yogurts and oatmeal, and Kind bars have a pumpkin spice. There are definitely healthy versions, if you can lean more toward those, then just do the baked goods or the lattes sparingly during the season.”
  • “Embrace it and have fun with it! Making your own products and adding canned pumpkin can add many more health benefits, with the fiber and all the vitamins and minerals. That's one suggestion to embrace and enjoy but still stay healthy and not increase your midline.”



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