10 Spices That Boost Your Health

Spice Up Your Health

The Huffington Post UK   First Posted: 13/01/12 18:37 Updated: 13/01/12 18:37

Spices aren't just good for heating up your favourite curry dish or adding a taste bud tingling oomph to your food - they are also packed with excellent health-boosting agents too.

These disease-battling spices not only fight inflammation, curb hunger and keep your gut happy, but they help maintain your overall health - not to mention injecting a touch of vibrant colour to your dinner plate.

Take a look at our round-up of the best spices that keep you feeling fiery.

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  • 10 Ways To Spice Up Your Life

  • Cinnamon

    Cinnamon isn't just a great way to sweeten up your pastry or morning coffee, it also has great weight-loss properties, too. According to a recent study by <a href="http://care.diabetesjournals.org/" target="_hplink">Diabetes Care</a>, a simple teaspoon of cinnamon a day rapidly reduces blood sugar levels, as well as cholesterol by 26%, meaning it helps protect against diabetes, weight-gain and cardiovascular disease.

  • Paprika

    Hot and spicy paprika contains capsaicin, whose anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects may lower the risk of cancer (also found in cayenne and red chili peppers).

  • Black Pepper

    The staple in all our kitchen cupboards, black pepper contains piperine component (which creates its pungent taste) as well as boosting the metabolism by as much as 8% for sveral hours after ingesting. Freshly ground pepper packs the most piperine.

  • Mustard Seeds

    These spicy-tasting mustard seed not only pack a punch on your taste buds, but helps boost the metabolism. This helps the body burn fat quicker - by up to 25% and around 45 calories per average meal. According to a recent study by <a href="http://www.brookes.ac.uk/" target="_hplink">Oxford Polytechnic Institute</a>, the mustard seed's thermogenic property is best as burning off the fat.

  • Cayenne

    The main ingredient in the cayenne pepper is capsaicin, which is known for its fat-burning abilities and thermogenic properties. These stimulate the central nervous system to produce heat in the body, that goes onto increase calorie burning. A recent study featured in the <a href="http://www.nature.com/ijo/index.html" target="_hplink">Journal of Obesity </a>found that these type of spices increase fat oxidation, which ramps up energy and stimulates the nervous system - all beneficial to helping the body shed weight.

  • Turmeric

    Thanks to its preventative and curative ingredient, curcumin, a rich anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, turmeric is best at reducing inflammation in the muscles and joints. This spice is also believed to be a great breast cancer-preventing food and is more effective than over-the-counter pain killers, like aspirin and ibuprofen, according to the <a href="http://www.vedanet.com/" target="_hplink">American Institute for Vedic Studies</a>.

  • Coriander

    According to the <a href="http://www.springer.com/medicine/internal/journal/10620" target="_hplink">Digestive Disease and Science</a>, coriander rapidly decreases the painful symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Coriander contains an anti-spasmodic agent that helps relax contracted digestive muscles, which cause stomach cramps. It's also good at relaxing the artery, which subsequently helps lower blood pressure.

  • Fennel Seeds

    Fennel can be classed as a vegetable, herb or spice but whatever you label it, it's anti-inflammatory agents provide pain relief for menstrual cramps. Fennel contains a liquorice-tasting oil called anethole and phytoestrogen, an oestrogen-like compound. This is proven to reduce menstrual cramps and is as strong as an over-the-counter ibuprofen.

  • Ginger

    Ginger has long been used as a spice which helps ease all types of nausea. Previous studies from the <a href="http://www.umich.edu/" target="_hplink">University of Michigan</a> and <a href="http://nymu-e.web.ym.edu.tw/front/bin/home.phtml" target="_hplink">National Yang-Ming University</a>, Taiwan, found that ginger reduces the release of vasopressin - the key hormone that plays a role in motion sickness. Ginger also has great gastric mobility abilities, and aids healthy digestion.

  • Oregano

    Oregano is a major source of thymol and carvacol - two antibacterial agents that fight off infection. It's also packed with super strength anti-oxidants, so much so, it has quadruple the amount of antioxidants found in blueberries.