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Spice up your life this Winter

Posted by Blooms The Chemist on 17 May 2024

Spice up your life this Winter


The cooler weather signals a return to some of our favourite Autumn dishes and drinks. Think delicious stews and curries and hot herbal tea infusions enjoyed by the fireside. 

One of the best ways to incorporate heat into your cooking is to use warming spices. 

In Chinese medicine, warm dishes are referred to as yang foods, responsible for the activation of bodily functions that facilitate the flow of qi, our personal energy. 1 Western medicine is now providing data to support these ideas with

Numerous studies suggest flavour intensives can help raise our body temperature, flush the skin and help us stay warm. 

Try adding these heat-producing, thermogenic spices to your favourite dishes. Your taste buds will thank you!

Cinnamon

With its distinctive aroma, cinnamon is the perfect accompaniment to sweet and savoury dishes. For thousands of years, extracts from the bark of the cinnamon tree, as well as its flowers, leaves, and roots, have been used in traditional medicine. 

Recent studies have suggested that cinnamon may possess numerous health benefits, including lowering cholesterol and assisting with weight loss and obesity 2.

Try sprinkling cinnamon over lightly buttered toast for a warming afternoon snack.

Turmeric

Turmeric is the ground spice that gives curries their unique yellow colour. Used in India for millennia, turmeric boasts powerful medicinal properties. 

Recent scientific studies cite the active compound curcumin as having the potential to improve heart health and prevent Alzheimer's and cancer 3.

Its potent anti-inflammatory properties could also negate the damaging effects of arthritis and improve symptoms of depression.

Add this golden spice to your next curry or soup.

Nutmeg

Nutmeg is a dark brown spice made from the seeds of Myristica fragrans, a tropical evergreen tree native to Indonesia.

Its warm, nutty flavour makes it a popular addition to desserts and curries as well as warm drinks like spicy chai tea.

Nutmeg contains powerful antioxidants which may help prevent cellular damage and protect against chronic diseases. It's also been recommended for generations as a homemade remedy for sleeplessness and insomnia.

A pinch of nutmeg in warm milk might be just what you need to send you off to slumberland.

Chilli Peppers

Chilli, both fresh and ground, is an easy-to-grow vegetable that can be added to almost any food to add heat and spice. 

Although especially popular in Asian and Mediterranean foods, chilli has found its way into many Western kitchens and is probably the most commonly used spice around the world 4.

Due to its high amounts of vitamins A and C and the presence of capsaicin, which gives chili peppers their heat and increases metabolism, this super spice has long been considered a powerful immunity booster.

So sweating while you eat that hot curry might actually be good for you.

Got a favourite spice we haven't mentioned? Let us know!

References

1 Foodal, Get Cozy with Wonderful Warming Spices, accessed 17 May 2024. 

2 WebMD, Cinnamon: Health Benefits and Side Effects, accessed 17 May, 2024. 

3 Healthline, 10 Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin/accessed 17 May, 2024

4 WebMD, Health Benefits of Chili, Chili Peppers, and Chili Powder, accessed 17 May, 2024