Many spices have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties due to their phenolic compounds like flavonoids. Spices also contain micronutrients such as iron, magnesium and calcium.

Spice: the fruit, seed, bark or root of a plant used to flavour, preserve or colour food.

Here are 10 common spices & how to use them:

  • Cinnamon –  a spice made from the inner bark of Cinnamomum trees. Cinnamon has a distinct smell and flavour due to an oily compound called cinnamaldehyde. Cinnamaldehyde is also responsible for cinnamons antioxidant benefits.

    Cinnamon can be used to add a touch of sweetness to dishes and typically used in baking and sweet preparations. Cinnamon also works well in savoury Indian and Moroccan-style dishes.
  • Paprika – a powder made by grinding dried peppers of the plant Capsicum annuum. Paprika comes in sweet, smoked, and hot varieties, as well as a variety of colors, such as red, orange, and yellow. Paprika can be used to spice up foods, especially savoury dishes and contains nutrients like Vitamin A and Vitamin E.
  • Turmeric – the spice that gives curry its yellow color. Curcumin, the main active ingredient in turmeric, acts as an antioxidant and has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. In fact, it’s so powerful that it has been used in place of some anti-inflammatory drugs. Curcumin has also been found to boosts levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which increases the growth of new neurons and can fight degenerative processes in the brain. There is also promising research looking at turmeric and heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis and depression. 

    Due to health it’s health benefits, turmeric is often added into drinks like teas, lattes, smoothies and health tonics like SHOJO Turmeric Tonic. SHOJO contains the powerful antioxidant curcumin found in turmeric, along with vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6 and vitamin C. To try SHOJO for yourself, use my discount code “SH6RG” to get 2 FREE SHOJO Turmeric Tonics with each 6-pack purchased through SHOJO’s online store (valid until 31 December 2019). Click here to shop the range.

    Turmeric can also be used in a variety of cooking like frittatas, roasted veggies, rice, greens and soups. 
  • Cloves – found in both whole and ground forms, cloves are a versatile spice can be used to flavour hot drinks, season roasts, flavour Indian dishes and add a warm sweet and slightly spicy flavour to cookies and cakes. Cloves has also been shown to have antioxidant and antibacterial properties.  
  • Ginger – fresh, dried, ground, pickled or crystallized, ginger can be used in a multitude of sweet and savoury dishes like stir-fries, salads, juices, roasts and sweets to add flavors and texture to dishes. Ginger is rich in nutrients and bioactive compounds and has antioxidant and anti inflammatory benefits.
  • Cumin – often used in Middle Eastern, Asian and Mediterranean cuisines, cumin goes well in curries and chili dishes. Cumin has become the subject of medical research due to its antioxidant properties and anecdotal evidence of its health benefits to digestion, immunity and circulation.
  • Nutmeg – as the name suggests, nutmeg has a nutty flavour. Ground nutmeg is can be used in cakes and desserts, as well as in fruit dishes, curries, on vegetables like pumpkin and also in tea. Research is finding that nutmeg may have antioxidant, anti inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
  • Mustard – one of the oldest and most widely used spices, historically playing a role in medicine. There are three types of mustard seeds: white, black & brown, and there are many types of mustard. Two common varieties are Dijon mustard, which can be used in classic French mustard sauces, salad dressings and mayonnaise, and English mustard, which is a hotter mustard and goes well on sandwiches, roasts and sauces.
  • Peppercorns – black, green and white, peppercorns, peppercorns have a subtle heat and can be used to flavour almost any savoury dish. They also have antioxidant and anti inflammatory properties. 
  • Saffron – the most expensive spice in the world, saffron originated in Greece where it was used for its medicinal and antioxidant properties. Saffron has a subtle aroma and taste and can be used in savoury rice dishes, paella and risottos.

Editor’s Note: This blog is proudly sponsored by SHOJO. All views expressed are my own.