Lots of bowls containing various spices

The super spices you need to know

These North African spices are the flavour of the month

Don’t get us wrong, we’re still crushing over turmeric, but if you’re looking for a taste of something new you’ll love these African warriors. With more antioxidants pound for pound than berries, fruit and veg (a guilt-free Balti? Who knew!), what else can these hot new spice heroes do for you?

Best to beat sugar-slumps

Cinnamon: Would you believe there’s a tasty spice that can smash your sugar addiction? Cinnamon has one of the highest levels of antioxidants of any of the spices – so this one’s a battler of the ageing, and it may help reduce sugar cravings between meals and through the night, keeping insomnia at bay. It’s also been shown to lower bad cholesterol and fats.

Try: Sprinkling cinnamon in your coffee or smoothie at breakfast time, stirring some through an unsweetened yoghurt to snack on through the day or pop a pinch in a cup of chamomile tea to help at snooze time.

Best for digestion

Black cumin: This spice is loaded with thymol, thought to be great for helping digestion, and may ease respiratory issues and skin problems. It’s known as an– a group of herbs and spices that boost the health of your adrenal system, which is in charge of managing your hormonal response to stress. Adaptogens help strengthen the body’s ability to cope with anxiety and fight fatigue. Black cumin’s also a thermogenic spice, so adding it to your food could help create fat-burning heat in your body, in a similar way to chilli, turmeric and ginger.

Try: Toasting the seeds and crush in your chillies and curries.

Best for mood-boosting

Cardamom: Often called the Queen of Spices (we’ll bow down now), cardamom is the third-most expensive spice in the world, with only saffron and vanilla nosing ahead. And long may she reign! Packed with iron and manganese, which helps keep tissue healthy and strengthens bones, it’s also thought to ease tummy troubles, breathing problems, and boost dental health.

Try: Adding a little when you're baking for a warming, mood-booster and distinctive flavour.

Best for period pain

Coriander: : As well as lowering bad cholesterol and supporting your liver, similarly to cinnamon (both of which are Moroccan spices), it keeps blood sugar on an even keel. Coriander seeds contain memory-boosting vitamin K, it’s a good source of vitamin A, and its anti-inflammatory properties may ease arthritis. But there’s one time of the month when this super spice is always our very best friend – its seeds are thought to help regulate periods, and ease bloating, cramps and pains. No more duvet days!

Try: Toasting the seeds over a medium heat, then toss lightly with pumpkin seeds in olive oil, sea salt and garlic powder for a quick, crunchy snack.

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Sources

www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-614-cardamom.aspx?activeingredientid=614&activeingredientname=cardamom
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92774/
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2841576/
www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100427190934.htm
www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0031938410004063
www.healthybutsmart.com/black-cumin-seed-oil-benefits/
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4219874/
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3642442/

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