The Health Benefits of 5 Everyday Spices

Throughout the ages humans have taken advantage of natures natural bounty, harnessing the health benefits of everyday spices in lieu of modern medicine. But some of that knowledge has fallen by the wayside, particularly in western cultures.

So if you're determined to improve your health naturally this New Year, why not see if you have these 5 spices lurking in the back of your store cupboard, and see if you can't get them working better for you?

1. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is the main ingredient of one of America's most popular sweet treats, Atomic Fireballs, but its reach extends far beyond flavoring candy. In fact, cinnamon is one of the world's most popular spices, being used in both savoury and sweet cooking, in baked goods and salads alike.

While cinnamon is incredibly tasty, it also contains a compound renowned for its medicinal properties - cinnamaldehyde. This compound reduces inflammation, helps lower cholesterol, but more importantly, can lower blood sugar levels by slowing the speed at which carbs are broken down in our digestive system.

This results in a slow release of energy spread throughout the day, rather than a spike in sugar levels, resulting in a quick energy hit, followed by a slump.

2. Peppermint

Who doesn't love the taste of peppermint? This spice has a long history of being used in medicine, particularly as a digestive aid as it is known to help reduce abdominal bloating, as well as relax the muscles in the colon, which can help manage the pain of irritable bowel syndrome.

Peppermint has also been shown to be a great nausea relief, so is ideal for expectant mothers or those feeling a little peaky.

3. Turmeric

Turmeric is having its time in the spotlight at the moment. People are fast realising the awesome antioxidant nature of this yellow spice and are including it in their diet to help fight against damage caused by antioxidants, as well as boosting the body's own natural antioxidant enzymes.

Why do we need to fight antioxidants? Because they're what causes us to age. So by reducing their effects, we can help reduce the signs of aging. And who doesn't want to look younger?

4. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper, the key ingredient in Beyonce's super weight loss drink of yesteryear has firmly established itself in the spice hall of fame thanks to its ability to suppress the appetite.

Cayenne pepper is a chilli pepper that contains capsaicin, the compound that is known to help reduce appetite and increase the speed our bodies burn fat (capsaicin is also used in Atomic Fireball sweets to give them their explosive taste sensation, incidentally).

So while cayenne pepper is well known as a weight loss aid, studies have also shown it might also play a role in combating certain types of cancer, including lung and liver cancer.

5. Ginger

Ginger, the go-to ingredients for pregnant women. Ginger is a powerful little spice capable of successfully treating nausea caused by morning sickness, sea sickness, even chemotherapy. How? Ginger has incredibly powerful anti-inflammatory properties so is well versed in pain management too.

3 min read

Help! My Friend Is a No Show

Email armchairpsychologist@swaaymedia.com to get the advice you need!

Help! My Friend Is a No Show

Dear Armchair Psychologist,

I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.


Dear Sadsies,

I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.

I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!

- The Armchair Psychologist

Need more armchair psychologist in your life? Check out the last installment or emailarmchairpsychologist@swaaymedia.com to get some advice of your own!