Need a little health boost? Look in the spice rack! Here we talk about five amazing spices to add to your foods to boost your health and innovative and easy ways to use them every day!
The king of colour, turmeric is not easily found fresh, but is commonly found in South African households on the spice rack! It’s often used in curries and stews and, more recently, you can even find “turmeric lattes” in your local coffee shops. You can even add a pinch to your morning smoothie.
Benefits: It contains an antioxidant called curcumin, which helps to fight free-radical damage and it’s a well-known anti-inflammatory.
Popular on pancakes and in baked goods, cinnamon is a powerful spice that can easily be added to all kinds of brews, broths, desserts and a variety of savoury dishes too. A great way to get your daily dose of healthy cinnamon first thing in the morning? Stir a teaspoon into your bowl of oats!
Benefits: Cinnamon contains a compound called cinnamaldehyde. Cinnamon helps fight inflammation and has been shown to lower cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. But it’s key power? Lowering blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that cinnamon can lower fasting blood sugars by 10-29% in diabetic patients. Read more here.
Ginger is easily found fresh around South Africa and is often added to juices, smoothies, teas, curries, stir-fries and other Asian-style dishes. Ginger contains gingerol, which has powerful medicinal properties.
Benefits: Gingerol has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. It may help relieve nausea and vomiting. Studies also show that including ginger in your diet can have a positive effect on weight management. Read more here. A 2015 study of type-2 diabetes showed that two grams of ginger powder per day lowered fasting blood sugar by 12%.
A pinch of cayenne pepper elevates the flavour of many savoury dishes and it works well with desserts too – particularly chocolate. Cayenne pepper is often added to juice shots, with ingredients like ginger and lemons, and works well in teas too (just a tiny bit!).
Benefits: Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, which helps reduce appetite and may have anti-cancer properties. It has been shown to reduce appetite and increase fat burning in many studies, which is why it’s commonly included in weight management programmes.
Make you instantly think of apple crumble? Cloves have often been used in baked goods, stewed fruit dishes and gluhwein, but are also used in hearty meat dishes. More recently, cloves have become popular additions to teas and cocktails.
Benefits: Cloves are a great source of beta-carotene, which converts into vitamin A, an important nutrient for keeping your eyes healthy (and good skin!). Cloves contain a compound called eugenol, which has been shown to reduce the inflammatory response in the body, reducing the risk of diseases such as arthritis and helping to manage symptoms. They have also been shown to reduce stomach ulcers. They also have been shown to have antimicrobial properties, meaning they can help stop the growth of microorganisms like bacteria. Read more here.