In winter, even on the West Coast, our immune systems can sometimes take a hit, but there are many dietary tricks to give you a boost and help prevent illness. I turn to nature’s cabinet of herbs and spices for many purposes — and definitely for a little warmth during the colder months. Keep reading for 6 spices that will support you through the season, all of which I keep on hand in my nifty spice tin ready for action.
What would a list of my favorite spices be without this golden wonder? Used in South Asia for thousands of years for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, digestive and immune-boosting properties, turmeric makes the perfect addition to hot drinks, soups, stews and curries — include it in your dishes along with black pepper, which helps your body better absorb the curcumin (the most active component in turmeric) better.
Cumin helps improve circulation and metabolism, and also clear mucus, so it’s great to include in your winter cuisine. Not to mention its flavor is inimitable and so versatile. Try to buy the whole seeds and grind them as you need them to preserve the taste and benefits, or sauté seeds whole in ghee or your favorite cooking fat before making soups and stews. Check out the cumin beetroot soup or the roast veg dippers with cumin beetroot dip in the link above.
Cinnamon boasts many health and wellbeing benefits. A naturally warming spice, cinnamon helps boost your circulation and keep your lungs clear, so may be just what you need to ward off that cold. It also helps with nausea and bad breath!
4. Pink peppercorns
Pink peppercorns can act as a cough and cold remedy (as long as you don’t have a tree nut allergy!)— just chew a few of these berries and feel everything clear up!
Asafoetida, a pungent spice that is often used to help make beans and lentils more digestible, also has anti-viral properties and helps with chest congestion, making it a great choice in winter.
Intuitively, you probably already know that ginger can help with a cold. Yes, this powerhouse of flavor is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and helps relieve congestion and stimulate the metabolism. It’s a clear winner to get you through the winter and it’s great for stoking your digestive fire, so sip on a strong ginger tea with a meal or, if you’re about to tuck into a family feast but don’t feel hungry yet then nibble on some raw ginger — with a bit of salt and lime too if you fancy — 15 minutes before the meal.
*This post reflects our opinions, not to be taken as fact. Always check with a healthcare professional before implementing any of these suggestions or changing your diet in any way.