Super spices

Make sure you’re getting the most from these multi-tasking ingredients


You may think a small sprinkle of cinnamon on your cappuccino is not be enough to give you the full benefit of the active oil known as cinnamaldehyde – a powerful source of potent antioxidants – but a mere 120 milligrams per day has been shown to affect the blood markers associated with heart disease.

Known for its antioxidant properties, this is the dried and ground rhizome (root) of a plant from the ginger family. The key ingredient is curcumin, a compound believed to act against an enzyme that turns toxins into carcinogens. 

Gingerol, the main bioactive component of a Chinese flowering plant, has been used as a nausea remedy for thousands of years, and is still effective in treating seasickness and morning sickness.

Voyages have been launched and wars fought over the various fruits from this family of vines. It’s pepper’s essential oils (such as piperine) that bring the heat while enhancing digestion and immune system functions.

Its kiss-repelling smell may not do wonders for your romantic life, but the sulphur compounds that create its strong taste are also believed to help reduce or prevent heart attacks, strokes, infections and possibly even cancer.