Friday 8th March brings International Women’s Day; an annual day about celebrating all things women. A day where cultures from around the world unite to celebrate the women in their lives and all the strides women as a demographic have made thus far. A focus on women’s body positivity and self-love is prevalent now more than ever and as a woman myself with a daughter, I love the positive messages being spread to and from females around the world.
These days we see the term ‘self-love’ splashed across inspirational quote posters and used in marketing tactics for various beauty products and the like, however, with its saturation, it’s true meaning must not be lost; to love and take care of oneself. Our bodies are machines constantly working hard for us and it’s important we give back and show them the appreciation they deserve.
As women in particular, the trials our bodies are put under such as childbirth, hormone changes and development and the day-to-day hectic nature of the lives we lead, can take a toll on our bodies. In order to keep everything functioning and happy we need to start from within… the gut that is; the centre of our body’s wellness system.
‘Let food be thy medicine’ is a quote that’s always resinated with me and an ethos I like to live by. By maintaining a healthy diet, we keep our guts happy and a happy gut means a happy body. When added into a regular healthy diet and routine, herbs and spices have a plethora of amazing benefits for the body. Below, I’ve collated my top 5 spices for body wellness and will explain to you a little about their wonderful benefits.
1. Cinnamon – As one of the world’s most used spices, you are probably familiar with cinnamon, but are you using the correct one?
Ceylon cinnamon has been hailed as the “true cinnamon” or the “real cinnamon” that possesses outstanding health benefits especially for diabetics and those challenged by obesity and high cholesterol issues.
Ceylon Cinnamon is also a very strong antioxidant. In fact, in some studies, cinnamon beats out chemical antioxidants and most other natural spices. Cinnamon also helps stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungus. It also possesses warming, circulation-improving effects for the body and is commonly used for hormone balancing and regulating body temperature. All you have to do is add it to your morning coffee, tea, porridge or smoothie and you’re already starting the day off well.
We have so many great recipes containing Cinnamon however, a favourite of mine has to be our recipe for a warming, restorative winter brew. Click Here to take a look.
2. Turmeric – Turmeric is another spice with well-known healing benefits. Known as a powerful anti-inflammatory, this spice works wonders at keeping inflammation down in all parts of our bodies.
Turmeric has also been known to increase bile production in the liver, our most vital organ for detoxifying and balancing our body. Our Ground Turmeric is very high in curcumin, the active ingredient in Turmeric giving it its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. Combine your Turmeric with black pepper to achieve optimum body absorption. For a delicious and ultra-nourishing way to use Turmeric in cooking, take a look at our recipe for Indian Lentil Dahl. Or, for an anti-inflammatory warming drink check out our Golden Spice Chai.
3. Red Chillies – Red chillies are a great metabolism booster. As we age, our metabolism slows down, so we need all the boosts we can get. The active ingredient in chillies, capsaicin, also helps in eliminating inflammation and aids in weight loss. Add a pinch of Crushed Chillies to your stir-fries, salads, soups, marinades, the list is endless, this versatile spice will add flavour to your dishes whilst benefiting your digestive system. I use Crushed Chillies in just about all my dishes to add a little kick but a favourite of mine has to be our recipe for Spiced Grilled Lamb Chops for a protein-dense nutritious meal.
4. Asafoetida – Asafoetida is a traditional Indian spice also known as Hing. It is a spice used primarily to help with the body’s digestion as it accelerates the transition of food through your gut and helps to prevent bloating. It has a wonderful savoury flavour akin to garlic and onion so can be used as a great substitute for those fodmap-sensitive tummies. To learn more about Asafoetida, its wonderful benefits and ways to use it, Click Here to read a blog I wrote dedicated to this ancient spice.
5. Nigella Seeds – Nigella Seeds are small black seeds packed with antioxidants. They have a mild nutty taste and add a wonderful crunch to just about any dish. I add them to salad dressings, soups, sprinkled on roasted veggies or even in my morning granola. They are also a main ingredient in our Indian Panch Poran mix.
There you have it; my top spice picks I think every woman should have in her pantry. Whilst I am not a trained health professional, I have been in the industry and practice of cooking for health for many years and these are just a few pearls of wisdom I’ve picked up along my journey that I’d like to share with you. So, this International Women’s Day take some time out for you and look at how you can show your body a little love from the inside out. Better yet, why not get your girlfriends around and whip them up a nutritious meal and celebrate all that women are!