Coriander – the marmite of spicesCoriander – you either love it or hate it and personally I love it. The spicy leave is used all over the world as a garnish but in this form you tend to miss out on the all the nutritional benefits that is has to offer. In a ground form coriander is great for digestion, skin inflammation, lowering blood pressure and it even has anti-histamine properties to fight allergies!
CuminRemember those little black insect-like seeds you used to take out of curries? They’re cumin seeds. Back then you may not have given them a chance, but, trust me, they taste pretty good and if you look past their appearance the benefits are substantial. It’s a great way to boost your immune system, help you sleep and even reduce the chance of hypoglycemia in diabetes sufferers.
TurmericA spice used in most curries and has been called ‘the most powerful spice for fighting and potentially reversing disease’. Turmeric has more benefits than I could list.From being taken as an alternative to painkillers to being used as an anti-inflammatory. Turmeric is also well known for its anti-depressant properties.
ChilliSomething many people won’t know is that chillies are great for weight loss. The heat that you feel after eating a chilli takes energy from your body to produce, the more energy used the more calories burned. They’re also great for clearing congestion if you’re feeling a bit stuffy, especially with winter well and truly here.
CinnamonThe health benefits of cinnamon can be linked to its antibacterial, antifungal and anticlotting properties. It’s rich in essential minerals such as iron and calcium. It can be great for those who need to lower their cholesterol levels and aid those who suffer from type 2 diabetes, as it can control blood sugars.
FenugreekFrom soothing sore throats to reducing your risk of heart disease fenugreek is a great spice to add to any meal but it’s especially good in curry. It also works wonders for those ladies who are going through the change of life (menopause) as it is known for reducing symptoms such as mood swings and cramps.
ClovesCloves are filled with vitamins. Vitamins that can help the preservation of bone density and antioxidants that can help protect your liver from the effects of free radicals. They are also being studied for their properties that could help control lung cancer in the early stages. All that from a small clove, amazing.
Black pepperBlack pepper is great for your stomach. It increases the amount of hydrochloric acid produced to aid digestion and it’s also great for weight loss as it breaks down fat
CardamomCardamom is great for your body and your teeth. It’s known for its dental disease prevention properties. Feeling nauseated or suffer from vomiting? It also works a treat if you need to settle your stomach.
WHY FIVE-A-DAY SHOULD BECOME EIGHT
If you thought that eating five pieces of fruit and vegetables a day had health benefits – try munching eight – it will actually put a smile on your face.
No really, its true, new research has shown the more fruit and veg you eat, the happier you become.
Boffins at the University of Warwick made the discovery after looking at the psychological effects of eating more of the good stuff.
And they found that as well as reducing the risk of cancer and heart attacks, it boosted your mood too.
In fact, after studying more than 12,000 people, they concluded that people who went from eating no fruit or veg a day to consuming eight portions experienced an increase in life satisfaction equivalent from being unemployed to getting a job.
The well-being improvements occurred within 24 months.
So the message really is, get eating.
An easy way of upping your intake of fruit and veg is through juicing and smoothies. That way you can sneak more of the healthy stuff into children’s diets and make sure you start the day with a glow.
A few smoothie ideas to get you started
Tropical Mango, Pineapple and Coconut Smoothie
Thick slice of pineapple (200 g)
1 mug coconut water (300 ml)
Handful cashew nuts
2 tablespoons coconut milk
Juice of 1/2 lime
Optional: handful of porridge oats
Peel the mango using and cut its flesh off the stone into the blender.
Add the remaining ingredients and blend until smooth and creamy
Simple Banana and Spinach Smoothie
1 ripe banana, peeled
Big handful of spinach
2 Medjool dates, pitted
1 heaped teaspoon almond butter
1/2 mug cold water or almond milk (150 ml)
Place all the ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth.