With the leaves starting to change colour, the days getting shorter, and the temperature starting to cool, it’s time to think about making some changes to our diet. Incorporating warming spices can be a great way to enjoy autumn fruits and vegetables whilst also benefiting your health.
Spices such as cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, cayenne, and cardamon are all high in antioxidants and polyphenols and are wonderful additions to our diet. As well as tasting wonderful, they have powerful health-promoting benefits:
- CINNAMON is a sweet, warming spice that not only adds a wonderful flavour, but many studies have shown that it is effective in controlling blood sugar levels. High in antioxidants, this spice boosts the immune system, and may also help to reduce cholesterol levels and prevent heart, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s diseases. Cinnamon also has anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial/viral properties. Add to porridge, cereals, smoothies, yoghurt.
- TURMERIC is now widely taken for its numerous health benefits. Its high level of antioxidants and polyphenols support brain, heart, and immune health, and may also protect against cancer. As well as this, Tumeric offers powerful anti-inflammatory effects making it great for joint health or other inflammatory conditions such as skin issues. Use raw or powdered in smoothies, soups, curries etc.
- GINGER is well known as a remedy for nausea and digestive upsets. It also has powerful anti-inflammatory compounds, is thermogenic (fat burning), and may help with appetite control. Ginger also encourages sweating so it useful for detoxification and elimination of toxins through the skin. Use raw in juices, soups, and stir-fries, powdered in smoothies, curries etc.
- CAYENNE is another thermogenic spice which can boost metabolism. Often an ingredient in pain relief medications and topical gels/ointments it stimulates circulation to damaged areas. Cayenne also stimulates digestion, may protect against cancer, helps with skin conditions, and works to lower blood pressure. Add a small pinch of cayenne to hot water and fresh lemon in the morning to kick-start digestion. Sprinkle on hummus, or use in curries and marinades.
- CARDAMOM is not so widely used in the UK. This under-rated spice helps with digestive issues such as gas, bloating, and ulcers. Helpful for bad breath and cavity prevention, it may also protect against cancer, has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, as well as being high in antioxidants. Use seeds in porridge (see below), marinades, soups, and curries.
AUTUMN SPICE SMOOTHIE
½ large banana (or 1 whole small banana)
1 cup of cooked (and cooled) pureed pumpkin or squash
120g Greek or Coconut yoghurt
120ml Non-dairy milk (e.g. Almond, Coconut, Oat etc)
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp mixed spice (e.g. nutmeg, cloves, ginger)
Optional: add extra protein with a tablespoon of cashew nuts or protein powder
Blend and serve with an extra dusting of cinnamon
3 tbsp of jumbo oats
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ginger
¼ tsp turmeric
3-4 cardamon seeds
Enough liquid e.g. Almond or Coconut Milk or 50/50 milk and water to cover oats
Optional: 1 tsp honey or maple syrup
1 – 2 tbsp Greek, goats, or coconut yoghurt
5-8 walnuts broken in pieces
Heat all together in a saucepan, stirring continuously. Add more water/milk if required.
Place in a serving bowl, stir in the yoghurt, and top with sprinkled walnut pieces.