10 Spices That Boost Your Health
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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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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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>.
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 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 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 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.