6 chai spices and their amazing benefits
Chai lattes, turmeric and spice infused tea have become a staple at most local coffee shops across the world. This is hardly surprising, considering their delicious taste as well as warming and satisfying feeling they provide in any weather and any day of the week.
But did you know that spices offer great health benefits, too? Most contain powerful antioxidants, which fight inflammation and protect you against diseases. Adding spices to your food and beverages is also a wonderful way to reinvent dishes, skip unnecessary sugar turn up the heat for your health and wellness.
Here are six spices, from seasonal superfoods to everyday favourites, that offer big flavour and benefits.
Turmeric gets a gold star as an anti-inflammatory food. That vibrant yellow color comes from curcumin, a powerful antioxidant that can soothe your stomach, relieve achy joints, help fight diseases, and more. Earthy and complex, turmeric adds depth and color to chicken curry, scrambled eggs, sautéed greens, and the drink of the moment, golden milk.
Merry and bright, ginger offers a number of medicinal properties and it’s the best for stomach issues. Sip on ginger tea for nausea, or unwrap a chew for motion sickness. It’s also been shown to reduce muscle pain - a bonus for athletes. The sharp, clean tingle of the fresh root will make your homemade chai truly magical. It’s also a match for salmon, green beans, and stir-fries.
Warm and familiar cinnamon could reduce your risk for diabetes and heart desease. Many people associate cinnamon with sweets, but it great in savory dishes too. Sprinkle it over your morning oats or whole-wheat toast, or let it tease the flavour out of tomato sauce and dark greens.
Chiles pack the real heat, from a kick to a wallop. Dried and ground, they lose that fresh-squeezed vitamin C, but the antioxidants become more concentrated. Capsaicin, the active ingredient, boosts your metabolism and can curb appetite.
Cumin is a great way to add flavor without turning up the heat. Mild and mellow, cumin seeds come from the same plant as fresh cilantro leaves, and have a similar quality. Cumin goes on almost everything in India and Latin America, and you’ll recognize it as the base note in your tikka masala and tacos.
You probably reach for your pepper mill without a second thought, but everyday black pepper has stealth health benefits. Studies show it can help your digestion faster and more efficient. Add a generous grind to those grilled steaks, chops, and veggies, and whatever else you’ve got cooking.
The list doesn’t stop there. Stock up your spice rack, and start having fun.
Better to start adding a sprinkle here and there, and enjoy spices as a natural part of your cooking. Toasting brings out the most character.
Spices do go stale, so toss and replace whenever color and aroma start to fade.