Spice Up Your Life
By Brydie Warren
Incorporating a range of herbs and spices into your daily diet will not only tantalise your taste buds, enhance your culinary experience but improve your overall health from reducing pain to aiding digestion.
Here are a handful of my favourites to get your started.
Cayenne Pepper is one of the spiciest. This wonderful deep red spice is an excellent source of vitamins A and C and is thought to act as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.
It contains Capsaicin, the oily compound in cayenne and also its peppery cousins which is the active ingredient used to treat muscle pain and arthritis.
It’s also used for relieving shingles pain and diabetes-related nerve pain.
It protects the stomach lining by rebuilding tissue and aiding peristaltic action in the intestines.
Cayenne also contributes to a boost in circulation and cardiovascular performance. We need good circulation so we can send oxygen to tissues for repair and ongoing function.
Favourable Savoury Addition: Chicken, beef or fish
Pairs well with: cumin, paprika or cinnamon.
The warm aromatic flavour of Oregano isn’t just famous as a pizza topping. One active ingredient in oregano is rosmarinic acid, a strong antioxidant that helps keep your immune system happy and healthy.
Whether you’re a budding gardener or not, Oregano is one herb that can be easily grown in your home, giving you a free and ongoing supply. What an excellent incentive.
Favourable Savoury Addition: Chicken, Fish, Lamb and pork
Pairs well with: mushrooms, scrambled eggs, tomatoes, chilli powder, bay leaves and thyme.
Who doesn’t love Cinnamon! Cinnamon is actually one of the most powerful healing spices around and has built its fame around its ability to improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes. Not only does it help diabetics, but it can help prevent blood clots, making it especially heart smart and also managing to work as an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent.
Here is a Salted Caramel smoothie recipe to kick start your day or to fill your craving mid afternoon
1-2 ripe bananas
3-5 medjool dates
1 tablespoon of Cinnamon
2 cups of your chosen milk (I love Coconut and Almond milk)
Favourable Savoury Addition: Chicken or lamb
Favourable Sweet Addition: Apple pie, Pears etc
Pairs well with: allspice, cloves or nutmeg.
A little Nutmeg grated or sprinkled over your porridge can provide a world of good for your health.
If you have difficulty sleeping at night, drinking a cup of warm milk with a pinch of nutmeg powder can effectively stimulate the release of serotonin, creating a feeling of relaxation. In our brain, serotonin is then converted to melatonin, relieving you of a restless nights sleep.
The sprinkle of nutmeg with some warm milk is so simple yet so effective, helping you to relax placing you into a dreamy nights sleep.
If you love a warm cup of milk before bed, here is a warm and fuzzy spiced milk recipe.
1/4 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/3 tsp Honey or Rice malt syrup
1 cup warmed milk of your choice
Favourable Savoury Addition: Lamb
Favourable Sweet Addition: Rice pudding, warm spiced milk, custard
Pairs well with: allspice or cloves.
Ginger has previously played a major role primarily as a digestive aid. Today its most exciting property is its ability to combat inflammation.
Ginger is also a nice remedy for the tummy too. Working in the digestive tract to boost your digestive juices, neutralise acids as well as reducing intestinal contractions which can be helpful when you’re not feeling too well.
Because of its ability to help with tummy pains, it’s no doubt that it’s been proven quite effective against nausea, the trick is to take it before you think you may become nauseous, maybe if you’re expecting…
Favourable Savoury Addition: fish, pork or beef
Pairs well with: garlic
Turmeric has often been called the Queen of spices, giving curry dishes its yellow hue. Whether sliced, chopped or ground, the peppery robust spice is one spice you will want to include in your daily diet.
Turmeric contains antibacterial, anti fungal and antiviral properties known to strengthen our immune system. As we all know, a strong immune system reduces the chances of colds and flus.
Not only does it protect our immune systems, but it has been dubbed the blood purifier of spices working as a natural liver detoxifier, a decongestant and also helpful in relieving inflammation.
Favourable Savoury Addition: beans, lentils, eggs, chicken or fish
Pairs well with: cardamon or garlic.
Here are some spice recipes to help you spice up your culinary experience.
Cajun Spice blend:
2 Tsp Cumin
2 Tbsp Coriander
2 Tbsp Paprika
1 tsp Salt
1 1/2 tsp Black pepper
1 Tbsp Oregano
Sprinkle of Cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp Cumin powder
2 Tbsp ground coriander
2 Tbsp Turmeric
1 1/2 tsp ground cardamon
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 Cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp Chilli powder
2 Tbsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp oregano