Spices for Life - spices with health-giving properties
There is so much to be gained by adding a little spice to our food. Not only is the flavour and often the colour greatly enhanced, but used regularly some spices have health giving properties as well.
Cinnamon is a classic example of a spice that can be easily included in our baking e.g. biscuits, cakes, pudding and hot drinks and also in some meat dishes like chilli con carne. This spice has been found to be very helpful in lowering blood sugar levels as it promotes insulin sensitivity and also has anti-fungal properties.
Used in similar way to cinnamon, Ginger is another warning spice. It can soothe and aid indigestion, gas, and bloating and is known to relieve nausea, motion sickness and early morning sickness in pregnancy. A hot ginger compress is very soothing when applied to areas of the body where there is chronic pain e.g. with rheumatism, arthritis, kidney and lower back pain.
Cloves, which are often added to apple pies for example, also have antifungal properties and the powerful oil extract rubbed onto gums can relieve sensitivity and toothache.
Tumeric (the root) is ground and gives a rich colour to many dishes especially in eastern cooking. This spice is a liver and digestive tonic and is also an excellent natural anti-inflammatory. It contains curcuminoids, which protects the body's cell membranes against free radical activity.
If you like things a little spicy Cayenne is an excellent ingredient to add some fibre to your food! It is a natural stimulant for both energy and metabolism. It creates heat when taken into the body and is therefore helpful for those with weak circulation. Surprisingly, it is not irritating and has been used in capsule form to treat digestive disorders. Cayenne can also be used typically to provide relief from joint pain or stiffness and sore muscles.