Spicy foods are good for health throughout the year. In summer, Indians and Mexicans adore their hot foods to aid in the perspiration process and as we all know, the purpose of perspiration is to cool the body down.
And in winter, spices are incredibly warming to the body. But apart from that, many Indian and Mexican ingredients provide wonderful health benefits.
You’ll probably be familiar with ‘garam masala’ which translates directly as ‘hot spice’. Every region and in fact every chef and home cook has their own recipe for garam masala and it can contain countless combinations of delicious spices. It can be used in curries, dhal (lentil soup), rice dishes and to add flavour to meats, seafood and vegetables.
Individually, some spices are veritable superstars and can be consumed specifically to aid in the relief of symptoms. In winter, some of our spicy superstars are worth their weight in gold!
Turmeric is one of the world’s most effective anti-inflammatories and is one of the best things you can put in your body to prevent and treat cold and flu. It is naturally anti-viral and antiseptic and it works wonders on the immune system, liver and overall health. But did you know that because turmeric is so potent, supplements (tablets or capsules) must be taken only in the recommended dosage.
Cumin is another immunity-boosting hero and has been used for centuries to treat colds and coughs. Earthy and instantly recognisable, it forms the foundation of many Indian and Mexican recipes. It’s a powerful antiseptic and is even great for nausea and to aid digestion.
Beautifully fragrant, cardamom is a warming spice that helps to heal the respiratory tract and it is also known to increase energy. Cardamom is an excellent detox spice as it helps to eliminate waste through the kidneys. It contains volatile essential oils that inhibit the growth of bacteria and viruses, it helps with coughs and colds and also boasts anti-inflammatory properties which means it’s useful for sore throats and inflamed mucous membranes.
Fresh red and green chilli peppers are rich sources of vitamin C which is a potent, water-soluble antioxidant. Vitamin C helps protect the body from infectious agents but even if you have already succumbed to cold or flu, it’s never too late to bump up your consumption.
Because chilli peppers contain a substance called capsaicin, they are especially effective as anti-inflammatories. When dried into chilli powder, the capsaicin is every bit as powerful and can be beneficial for pain relief and to clear congestion as the heat stimulates secretions that help to clear mucous from stuffed up noses and congested lungs. At IndiMix we use scorpion strike chilli paste for our especially hot dishes … in fact, just two drops is sufficient to give Vindaloo and Madras dishes their fiery heat.
Ginger is another powerful ingredient known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea and anti-indigestion qualities. It is popular in winter for its warming, comforting flavour and helps with asthma, coughs, colds, loss of appetite and sore throats.
At IndiMex we don’t claim to have the cure for all your ailments, but we do guarantee flavour and that goes a long way towards feeling better!