Herbs and Spices are usually more of a seasoning and we tend to sprinkle one or two into the odd recipe. However, did you know that Herbs and Spices are absolutely packed with Antioxidants and Anti-inflammatory compounds. This makes them a very cost-effective way of improving your health.
Herbs and Spices can be extremely helpful in common conditions such as poor digestion, inflammation, circulation, and immunity problems and much more. They are used in other parts of the world as the main - and sometimes only - medicine. They also add powerful flavour and taste to our foods. I am going to focus on Digestion and Inflammation and suggest which Herbs and Spices may be beneficial.
Signs of poor digestion include irregular or loose bowel movements, bloating, pain, and Acid Reflux. Recommendations: Ginger, Basil, Mint, Cinnamon, Coriander, Cumin, Dill, Horseradish, Thyme, Black pepper, Nutmeg
Signs of Inflammation include inflammatory skin disorders like eczema, heart problems, depression, pain (such as arthritis), inflammatory bowel disease and many more. Recommendations: Turmeric, Ginger, Black pepper
One of my favourite ways to incorporate herbs and spices into my diet are through homemade Curries. Perfect for this time of year as Winter is approaching.
Homemade Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe
Ingredients (serves 4)
For the marinade
800g Chicken Thigh Fillets (cut into large bite size chunks).
75g Greek Yoghurt
1 tbsp Garlic paste
1 tbsp Ginger paste
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
1tsp Ground Cumin
2 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 tsp ground Coriander
1 heaped tsp Garam Masala
1 tsp Salt
For the Curry
1 tbsp Rapeseed or Coconut Oil
1 large White Onion (chopped)
1 tbsp Garlic (minced)
1 large tbsp chopped Ginger
1 tbsp Paprika
1 tsp Ground Turmeric
1 tsp Garam Masala
½ tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 tsp Ground Coriander
1 tsp Ground Cumin
¼ tsp Ground Cardamon
400g Chopped Tin Tomatoes
200ml Chicken Stock
125ml Double Cream
2 tsp Honey or Maple Syrup
1 tsp Salt
Put the Chicken in a mixing bowl with all the marinade ingredients. Mix well and leave in fridge overnight or for a minimum of 6 hours.
Put the Chicken onto some foil and Grill on each side for four minutes.
Next make the Sauce – add Oil and Butter to the pan, fry off the Onion and Ginger, until the Onion becomes translucent. Add the Garlic and fry for another 3 minutes. Add the dry spices and continuously sit for 3 minutes.
Add tomatoes and let the sauce summer lightly for five minutes. Remove from the heat and blend in a machine or handheld blender, until smooth.
Place back on the heat and stir in the Chicken, Stock, Cream, Honey and salt.
Bring back to a medium simmer for ten minutes. Finally add the Lemon juice.
Don’t be afraid of using some good quality Butter and Cream. Lower in Lactose, so easier to digest and full of beneficial fats and a good dose of Vitamin A. Lots of the above herbs and spices are also fat-soluble which means they need fat in order for us to absorb them. Fats also provide satiety which means we are less likely to overindulge. *
If you are Vegetarian or Vegan, you could use Cauliflower or Chickpeas instead of Chicken.
Written by Nutritional Therapist Emma Bulbeck. If you would like more information on the services offered by Emma, visit www.emmabulbecknutrition.co.uk or follow Emma on Instagram @emmabulbecknutrition