The smell of spices is everywhere at Christmas but we don't always think of them as making a contribution to our health. So next time you reach for the spice rack, think about what they may be doing for you. Here are a few examples of some spices which could bring both flavour and health to your festive season.
Cinnamon. Possesses anti-inflammatory properties, supports healthy blood flow and has anti-microbial activity. It may also help to regulate blood sugar and could be particularly helpful to those with Type 2 Diabetes. Some research has even shown it to even improve brain function.
Cloves. Rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory, with mild anaesthetic activity and an antibacterial agent, courtesy of a compound called eugenol. So, if you have a toothache, the clove is your friend.
Nutmeg. A good source of minerals, especially copper and maganese which are co-factors for the anti-oxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. It is also reported to have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties and may aid digestive function, especially known for reducing flatulance .
Turmeric. A powerful anti-inflammatory, which has been well researched and shown to be helpful in several chronic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. Anti cancer properties have also been widely documented.
Pepper. May promote good digestive health and increase the bioavailability of nutrients. Also believed to possess anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to increase the breakdown of fat cells.
Ginger. Has a long history of use in health and is well studied, particularly gingerol, its active component. It is particularly known for its use in relieving nausea and may help to fight viral infections. It has anti-inflammatory properties and has been used traditionally to reduce menstrual pain.
And these are just a few! A full spice rack may double up as your preventative medicine chest, as well as adding interest to the Christmas menu.