21 Feb Spice up your life!
The spice trade dates back to ancient times, where it once incited exploration both by sea and land. The Old Testament extols the virtues of cinnamon, myrrh and saffron. In Greece and Rome cinnamon was the spice of love, and other spices were used to protect against poison or venom. The Hindus favoured spices such as nutmeg, cloves, cardamon and galangal, the Chinese preferring ginger.
Spices have long been used for medicinal, culinary purposes and also to make perfumes; in ancient times they were a reflection of wealth. Spices not only invoke a sensory explosion but as small as they are their power as phyto-nutrients is great, providing vital minerals and vitamins and also acting on many of the body’s pathways reducing inflammation, risk of disease, cardio-vascular protection and improving mood and vitality!
Cinnamon has been proven to assist in balancing blood sugar.
Adding ½ tsp of cinnamon to your breakfast aids blood sugar balance reducing risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
Ginger and turmeric reduces inflammation in the body, chilli and garlic powder fight bacteria.
Cloves are warming and soothing like cardamom and have anti-sceptic qualities. Making a homemade chai, simmering milk with cardamon pods, cinnamon, and cloves soothes sore throats. Adding Star Anise increases anti-oxidants, which help too against the fight of infection.
Chilli is a very powerful anti-microbial and heart protector as is Cayenne pepper, which is high in vitamin C and anti-carcinogenic. Super immune booster while fighting a cold is a tea made of chilli, garlic and turmeric, to ward off any microbe!
For digestion, Black Pepper aids digestions of beans; Cumin improves digestion by increasing gut motility and enzyme production. Coriander seeds are rich in dietary fibre and therefore can help alleviate constipation, and in addition fibre binds to bad cholesterol LDL to remove it from the body. Fennel seeds act in the same way, symbolising courage and longevity!
Nutmeg has anti-fungal properties as well as anti-depressant, it is best freshly grated over vegetables wonderful over steamed cabbage or increasing flavour in mashed swede or potato.
Perhaps underestimated or forgotten in your kitchen, spices with their rich flavours should not to be underestimated in their ability to heal, evoke the senses, play a vital role in protecting the body against disease and increasing longevity.