Super spices: Turmeric, saffron and more spices your health needs you to eat more of

Superfoods have had their day – it’s time to stock up on super spices instead.

Quinoa, avocado, ghee… We’ve all been stocking up on superfoods for the last few years to improve our health.

But now there’s an easier way to cure your ailments – with spices instead.

See which spice your health is crying out for:

Cinnamon: Sugar substitute

If you are trying to cut down on sugar, you may be tempted to substitute it with artificial sweeteners in order to cut calories. Don’t!
If a food or drink is described as ‘low sugar’, ‘slimline’ or ‘diet’, it will usually contain an artificial sweetener. These sweeteners have been linked to mood swings and depression, as well as increased appetite.

Sprinkle cinnamon on your food instead. “If you are really craving something sweet, try adding cinnamon to your natural yoghurt, latte or porridge. A few studies suggest that adding cinnamon to food might help better control blood sugar, by lowering post-meal blood sugar spikes,” explains Dr Marilyn Glenville, the UK’s leading nutritionist and author of Natural Alternatives to Sugar.

Turmeric: Pain reliever

Turmeric is great for a host of health complaints, but one of the best is its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help relieve the pain of a range of ailments, from arthritis to dental procedures.

Lily Soutter, nutritionist and weight loss expert, explains: “This bright yellow spice is best known for its potent anti-inflammatory benefits. It is the curcumin within turmeric which has been used to treat inflammatory conditions like arthritis, as well as playing a role within cancer prevention and protecting against heart disease.”

Another great use for turmeric is to help your liver function. “It stimulates production of bile by the gallbladder that is used by liver to filter and expel toxins” adds Cassandra Barns, nutritionist.

[Read more: Starbucks' turmeric lattes – what do they taste like?]

Saffron: Mood lifter

There is a reason why a gram of saffron is more expensive than gold; it has long been used in traditional Persian medicine as a mood lifter, usually added to tea or rice. Why?

“Saffron extract helps increase serotonin, which is the feel-good hormone in the brain. This will not only improve your mood but also stop you from snacking, giving the same boost in serotonin as a biscuit,” explains Cassandra.

Cayenne pepper: Fat burner

You don’t have to go full-on Beyonce and drink nothing but lemonade with a dash of cayenne pepper to reap the fat-burning rewards of a sprinkle or two.

Shona Wilkinson, nutritionist at SuperfoodUK.com: “We all recognise that cayenne helps us heat up, even making us break a sweat after consuming it. This is called diet-induced thermogenesis. It is this process that is excellent for those who want to lose weight as it encourages our body to burn up calories rather than storing them.

“It is the active constituent capsaicin that creates the heat in our body from the food ingested. Studies have also shown that chilli may help to decrease your appetite too.”

More from BT