Spicing up your food is good for more than just your taste buds and who doesn’t love a bit of flavour! Spices are concentrated sources of antioxidants and they have many nutritional health benefits. There is no need to go crazy searching for exotic ingredients as when you can pop down to your local supermarket. Theres so many! Some have been more studied for their therapeutic properties than others - I’m very openminded but I still don’t know how I feel about putting turmeric on my face. Might even take me back to my sun shimmer days.
My first flavour of the month (or life) is Turmeric. Packed with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-carcinogenic properties. So basically an all round boss spice. In turmeric is curcumin, which destroys the free radicals in the body that damage the cells. Turmeric's anti-inflammatory properties have been instrumental in treating osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Its healing properties make it good for your brain, relieves arthritis, prevents cancer. It’s become a very trendy spice in the wellness industry. I use it in curries, stir fry’s, chilli, stews, sprinkle it on brunch ingredients, add it to a juice for a vitamin booster (see ingredient list below.)
I cannot recommend this spice enough!
Second on the list is Cinnamon. First thing that comes to mind is cinnamon buns or a pumpkin spiced late from Starbucks. Cinnamon has lots of antioxidants which protect body from body diseases and have many anti-inflammatory properties. Cinnamon may also provide heart-healthy benefits, such as reducing triglyceride levels and high blood cholesterol and has proven to be very effective.
It lends a sweet taste to food without adding sugar, which is important for people with diabetes. You may have seen our overnight oats recipe which we love a dash of cinnamon in. I love to add it to soups like sweet potato, carrot, broccoli when cooking. I also add it pancakes, cakes, add a sprinkle on peanut butter on toast. Cinnamon forms a part in many dishes and is currently trending because of its ability to get rid of that bloated feeling.
Third on the list is ginger. Ginger's therapeutic properties help clean your bowels and kidneys, stimulate blood circulation, remove toxins from the body and nourish the skin. Ginger is a tropical plant that’s been used in Asian cultures for thousands of years to treat stomach upset, diarrhoea and nausea. It is also anti-inflammatory, and can help reduce pain. Dried ginger powder is an effective cure for indigestion, sore throat, cold and cough. You can buy it fresh for teas or to grate into your food or it comes in many other varieties such as lollipops, candies and capsules. I personally found that it worked wonders during pregnancy. So there you have it, a huge list of benefits. I personally use it in hot lemon water with a little Manuka honey for fighting off a common cold. Or grate a little into stir fry’s or homemade sauces/dressings. I also put some in most of my juices/smoothies. (See ingredients list below.)
Garlic! What can I say? The smell is captivating, it instantly livens up any dish and it tastes amazing. Each clove is a powerhouse of flavour as well as medicinal properties. The high sulphur content in garlic gives it anti-biotic, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It is great for helping keep the digestive system clean by flushing out toxins. It works wonders for your immune system fighting against cold/flu and clears blocked arteries. It is also known to help with the healing of scars, gives your skin a glow and helps to lower cholesterol levels.You can’t not love garlic.
Recipes - put it in everything! Just kidding, well not completely. Anything you’re cooking fresh for a bit of extra taste - Soups, stews, casseroles, stir fry’s, sauces/dressings. Even if you are frying/grilling put it in with the oil.
I’ve actually made a sweet potato and chick pea curry earlier for dinner this evening with all of these in! It tastes so good. Ive put the recipe below for you to have a go. And I’ve done a list of my favourite health boosting remedies.
Tips for health-boosting remedies!
Need an immunity booster?
We have a few tips on how to stay healthy this autumn.
Making juices/shots/tonics is just a few ingredients and a few minutes prep.
Turmeric contains a compound called curcumin, which is an amazing antioxidant and is liver detoxifying with great anti-inflammatory properties.
Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It helps improve brain function and helps with digestion and sickness.
Lemon is full of vitamin C, which boosts the immune system. It is also naturally alkalising in the body and detoxifying which is great for your metabolism.
Carrots are loaded with three nutrients, beta carotene, zeaxanthin and lutein. As you know, carrots protect our eyes but they’re also great for our cognitive functioning and immunity.
Cayenne pepper stimulates circulation, boosts metabolism, naturally relieves pain, and can have an alkalising effect in the body.
Orange juice is not just for taste but which is full of vitamin c and has antioxidant and other properties that protect your cells from substances that damage the body.
Black pepper, which helps absorption of turmeric by a huge 2000%
Apple cider vinegar although it doesn’t contain many minerals and nutrients it does contain amino acids and antioxidants so if you’re making a small immune booster shot with some of the above ingredients, a tsp or two is ok.
Sweet potato & Chick pea Curry
2. sweet potatoes
1 white onion diced
2-3 carrots diced
1 pot/cube vegetable stock
1 tsp. Turmeric
1 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp. Roasted Curry Powder
1tsp ginger (optional)
1tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 garlic clove
3/4 tin coconut milk
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 can (15 oz.) chick peas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup red lentils (optional)
Boil sweet potatoes until softer.
Add onion, garlic, carrots with stock/spices and coconut milk
Add chickpeas and simmer until soft
Serve with rice
Plenty of tips to keep you healthy this winter!
Hope you enjoy!
Liverpool Health & Wellbeing Team