What better way to flavour our food than using the huge variety of spices and herbs that are available to us. They not only enhance the taste of your cooking but contain a myriad of health benefits too.

Spices and herbs such as turmeric, rosemary, garlic, ginger and cinnamon are excellent sources of antioxidants with their high content of phenolic compounds that have the potential to protect the body from free radical damage and reduce inflammation. There is evidence that frequent consumption of spicy foods is linked to a lower risk of death from cancer and iheart and respiratory system diseases.

Individually spices and herbs can exert many health benefits, here are just a few that can be easily used in cooking:

Cinnamon has been shown to reduce levels of unhealthy fats in the blood as well as blood sugar lowering properties.  It slows the digestion of carbohydrates in the gut and improves insulin sensitivity.

The spice fenugreek may also improve blood sugar control by supporting healthy insulin function.

Chilli contains capsaicin that also supports healthy heart function by improving blood pressure markers and cholesterol levels (https://www.lucksyardclinic.com/red-hot-chillies-a-healthy-heart/)

Turmeric has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to boost the body’s own antioxidant enzymes. Studies have shown its use in treating heart disease, relieving arthritis, reducing the risk of cancer and support of brain function.

Ginger is known for its anti-nausea properties but also its ability to reduce inflammation and helping with pain management.

Rosemary is often used to help in allergy symptoms including reducing nasal congestion.  Some studies suggest that rosemary significantly enhanced the quality of memory and increased mental alertness.

Garlic has numerous health properties – too many to list here! However, there is research into its benefits in heart disease including reducing blood pressure; general immune boosting for coughs and colds; improving cholesterol levels and antioxidant activity throughout the body.

Please note that while safe to use fresh or dried herbs and spices in cooking, you should always seek medical advice when using them in supplemental form. Some may be contraindicated if you are using prescription medications or suffer from specific health conditions.

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