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Healing spices to spice up your life

As a nutritionist and foodie, I love, love, love spices. They are exotic gems that bring depth, flavour and aroma to dishes. On top of this many of them have health benefits for managing symptoms, fighting infection and helping optimal functioning of the body. Here are some of my favourite Christmas spices and how they can help your wellbeing… Cinnamon Cinnamon is hands-down my favourite spice, so versatile in so many dishes, including warming (sugar free) sweetness to desserts and beverages and its use in Middle Eastern savoury dishes. Switch your morning coffee for a matcha cinnamon almond milk latte - soooo delicious... It has many health benefits, including anti-bacterial, it improves circulation, is calmative, works as a digestant. However, it is best used for protecting against diabetes and supporting blood sugar imbalances. It can reduce insulin resistance and fasting glucose as it is thought to mimic insulin. In relation to this it will help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels too. NUTMEG Nutmeg is great for adding depth to sauces, both Asian and European, as well as being a key ingredient in Christmas favourites such as mulled wine, cider and eggnog [Hyperlink to recipe]. Nutmeg contains high concentrations of the active compound myristicin, which is incredibly protective of the liver. Equally it is very antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, so could help protect against winter infections. Cloves Cloves contain the active compound eugenol, which is a mild anaesthetic and has antibacterial qualities. Use medicinally to relieve toothache. It is often an ingredient in natural fluoride free toothpastes. Ginger Ginger is another well loved, well used spice in my house. I add fresh ginger to all my smoothies and juices as well as using it in curries, stir fries and baking. It is a potent anti-inflammatory, good for joint pain, it aides digestion, and is anti-sickness, recommended for travel sickness, morning sickness, and Christmas hangovers!. by Libby Limon

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