It’s the time of year when you really feel that every meal needs to comfort and warm you. And it’s very tempting to turn to all the stodgy foods of your childhood – thick meaty stews with dumplings, rich puff pastry pies or heavy sponge-based puddings...
All of these are delicious, but they are also likely to make you feel just a little fatigued whilst your body deals with digesting them. And with so many people being intolerant to wheat now more than in the past, it may be a better option to steer away from main meals that include wheat – leave it for snacks and sandwiches. This may help your body to not be over-loaded with wheat.
Using spices is a great way to ‘warm’ your food, and this doesn’t mean it has to be hot, as in spicy, burn your mouth hot! And adding spices to your food may also help with other issues, as a number of spices are known for other properties they posses that have been used in the past to help certain health symptoms.
In India, turmeric is regarded as a stomach tonic, and blood purifier, which is used for poor digestion, skin conditions and liver disorders. It has also been shown to be useful in rheumatoid arthritis, topical treatment of cancerous lesions, and for many inflammatory conditions such as asthma, infections, eczema, psoriasis, long-term prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, and also as an antioxidant.
Ginger has been used as a pungent spice and medicine for thousands of years. It is used to; reduce nausea, stimulate circulatory activity, enhance digestion, assist in menstrual problems, fevers and colds.
In Chinese medicine, cinnamon is used for colds, flatulence, nausea, diarrhoea and painful menstrual periods. Recent studies have found that cinnamon may have a beneficial effect on helping to balance blood sugar, and preliminary studies have found that it may have antibacterial and antifungal properties.
These are just a few examples, but just show that spicing up your food does not only add flavour and warmth, but may also support a healthy diet. As with all ingredients, variety is the spice of life – so add more spices to your everyday cooking to get a variety of nutrients and health benefits.