Spice Health Heroes

Last night I was invited by Dancing Chef, Natasha MacAller (Tash), to Divermenti in Knightsbridge for an exclusive event where she was cooking from her latest book, Spice Health Heroes.

I went along as a nutritionist to talk more about some of the amazing benefits and latest research that spices can offer. 

Did you know that hibiscus flowers may help reduce high blood pressure[1]?

In the UK, I think we lean towards spices such as turmeric and cumin when we are thinking of foods from Indian or Asian origin or jumping on the latest trend of turmeric/golden milk, and yet they are so versatile and can be used in modern day and British cuisine, as Tash demonstrated tonight.  Her Raw beetroot, fennel and apple crunch salad was one of the best slaws I’ve ever eaten!

Spices should be seen as our medicine cabinet, and used daily they have the potential to keep us healthy and keep certain diseases away.  They’ve been used for centuries, and are increasingly being researched for their medicinal properties.

Tash asked me tonight what some of my top favourite spices were so here they are, based on taste alone but I’ve included some of their health benefits:

  • Turmeric – turmeric’s active element is curcumin, and research has shown that it may well offer neuroprotective benefits, helping to keep conditions such as Alzheimer’s at bay.[2]
  • Cumin – one of my all time favs. I find this spice super versatile, but it has also been shown to have great antibacterial benefits against certain bacteria[3], and may help in weight management.[4]
  • Cinnamon – probably most well known for its blood sugar balancing properties, but did you know that cinnamon may also help with weight loss by helping to increase energy expenditure?[5]
  • Cardamom – I have recently discovered ground cardamom as a great addition to my coffee of a morning!  This spice also has the potential to prevent or delay the development of non-melanoma skin cancer.[6]

Firstly, I encourage you to buy Spice Health Heroes, and no I am not being paid to say that, but I was blown away by the flavours and taste of the recipes tonight.  This book will also show you how easy they are to add to everyday foods and includes recipes for turmeric smoothies, sauerkraut and spice rubs too.

But also go through your spice rack, throw out all of those which are out of date (as this reduces their healing power as well as flavour) and start with just one or two spices, adding them to simply things like scrambled eggs and soups, and begin to reap the benefits of natures own medicine cabinet.