5 spices that boost your health

20 April 2017 by
First published: 3 September 2016

Try these 5 spices that boost your health. Sometimes all your body needs to feel and look its best is a kick start from some spices. Most of them have a plethora of benefits, other than the fact that a lot of our favourite meals would be boring without them. Not only do they contain a huge amount of antioxidants, which will keep nasty illnesses at bay, some can speed up your metabolism, curb your food cravings and top up your energy levels – just to name a few!


If your body is constantly feeling achy, then it may be worth trying to add turmeric into your meals. The curcumin in it has anti-inflammatory qualities. Turmeric is known for destroying free radical cells that in time, damage your body – hurting your joints and muscles. On top of that, it also speeds up your metabolism. ‘This is because it stimulates production of bile by the gallbladder that is used by liver to filter and expel toxins,’ says Cassandra Barns, a nutritionist. The extra bile then can break down your food quicker, which means you don’t have to feel guilty for having that last piece of chocolate.

Cayenne pepper

Not feeling good about your weight at the moment, and can’t seem to shift the pounds? Try adding cayenne pepper to your diet. It contains capsaicin, a compound that jolts your body’s metabolism into action, and is also frequently found in weight loss supplements. This is called diet-induced thermogenesis. Shona Wilkinson, a nutritionist at superfooduk.com, says: ‘cayenne pepper and the compounds within it are excellent for those who want to lose weight, as it encourages our body to burn up calories rather than storing them.’ So go on, have a spicy dish with cayenne pepper and see the results!


For a spice that is packed with antioxidants, ginger is definitely your go-to. It has a lot of soothing benefits, such as aiding poor digestion and reducing nausea. This is because ginger contains gingerol, which relaxes the intestinal tract, and also blocks nerve pathways that process pain. If you are feeling queasy, drink some ginger tea, or add some ginger on top of your next fish dish for an extra kick. Shona adds: ‘because of it’s anti-inflammatory aspects, ginger is now becoming more and more common for people to take it after exercise to help with faster recovery.’


If you ever visit India, you will notice people chewing fennel after a meal. This is done to help facilitate the digestion of the meal, and on top of that, it eliminates bad breath! The seeds in powder form can act as a remedy for constipation and the oils from the seeds also help stimulate the gastric juices for healthier digestion. Author of Eat to Lose, Eat to Win, Rachel Beller recommends trying fennel tea. ‘If you’re feeling achy and suffering from water retention, fennel tea will make you feel better in no time – it is known for being a massive de-bloater.’ Sold!


Is your skin playing up at the moment? Instead of trying expensive creams and cleaners to alleviate your blemishes, try eating some basil instead. It is used in most Italian foods, therefore easy to fit it into your diet. Nutritionist Ben Coomber said: ‘basil does definitely have some antimicrobial properties but, if nothing else, it simply tastes and smells amazing.’ Its antioxidant components can fix many common skin issues, protect the face from premature aging and can even help protect you from some forms of cancer. It contains plant pigments, which shield your cell structures from bacteria in the air, and from radiation damage as well. Simply add some basil leaves to a pasta dish, and see if that helps.