The top five health enhancing super spices
12 Aug 2014
Researchers are investigating the unique protective properties of herbs and spices and their role in reducing inflammation, a precursor to many chronic diseases. Herbs and spices can be included in an anti-inflammatory diet to not only add flavour but to also assist in healing the body. Here are the five super spices with the greatest health-enhancing potential and tips to include them in your meals. Cinnamon Did you know one teaspoon of ground cinnamon has the equivalent level of antioxidants as half a cup of blueberries or one cup of pomegranate juice? Ground cinnamon is so easy to include in your diet. I like to put 1/2 a teaspoon into my coffee plunger in the morning or sprinkle it over my bowl of porridge with some poached pear. Morning tea sees it whipped into a green smoothie with banana, coconut water, spinach and chia seeds. I’m up for pumpkin soup at lunch time with cinnamon sprinkles on my croutons and it’s the perfect secret ingredient in my bolognaise. Oregano Did you know one teaspoon of dried oregano has as much antioxidant power as three cups of chopped broccoli? Add oregano to your pasta sauce or sprinkle it onto a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich. It’s also pretty good in a simple lamb marinade made with one part salt, oregano and pepper and two parts garlic paste (homemade of course). I’ve even added a little to a crumble crumb made for pear and raspberries. Rosemary The compounds in rosemary appear to help reduce inflammation in the body and improve heart health. Rosemary is amazing as a tea with orange zest and cinnamon and a little honey. Add it to any dough that you’re currently playing with for bread or pizza. (Join the flat bread craze that’s doing the rounds at the moment). Turmeric This bright yellow spice is commonly found in curry powder. Researchers are looking into the role of turmeric in brain health and protecting against cognitive decline associated with ageing. This is one spice though that requires a deft hand. I add dried turmeric to a zucchini fritter batter; one teaspoon is enough in a mix for six. It’s beautiful in jars of bright pickled vegetables and delicious with chicken when used fresh. Ginger A teaspoon of ground ginger has similar antioxidant levels to one cup of wilted spinach. Ginger reduces the severity of nausea and helps to reduce pain. I quite like a little grated and added to a mug of miso for a snack when I’m working at home. Generally, the rule is everything in moderation but not so with herbs and spices. Find any excuse to include them in everything that you eat or drink. Chilli infused coke anyone? Seriously!