Do you season your food with spices? It turns out you may have a healthier tummy!
Spices are way more than just flavour boosters. Made from different parts of plants, like the bark, roots and seeds (aka the non-leafy parts), spices have been used for centuries for their potential medicinal properties.
And guess what? Science backs up their benefits.
When you eat spices, you’re not just getting a tastier meal. Enjoying a selection of spices can boost beneficial bacteria in your tummy – which is great news for your gut health.
Here’s the science, simplified.
Plant power: polyphenols
One reason spices are so beneficial is because they’re packed with polyphenols. Polyphenols are powerful tummy-loving chemicals found in plants – and they’re super concentrated in spices.
These polyphenols can change the make-up of the millions of mighty microbes living in your tummy (aka the gut microbiome).
You see, eating a selection of spices – such as turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon and more – has been shown to:
✓ Increase the number of beneficial bacteria (a type called Bifidobacteria)
✓ Increase the number of bacteria linked to reducing inflammation and fuelling the cells in our tummies
How much do you need to reap the rewards?
There’s no set amount, but a few of our favourite studies suggest adding around 2 teaspoons (6g) of spices to your meals every day could bring you benefits.
When it comes to which specific spices you should start sprinkling, no single one spice is best – it’s all about variety – so mix up your spices on the regular.
6 spices to show your tummy some love
Time to spice up your life! These tasty seasonings could help you on your way to a tip-top tummy. Here are five spices to get you started.
This vibrant yellow spice contains a polyphenol called curcumin – known for its anti-inflammatory effects and links with boosting beneficial bacteria in your tummy.
A perfect spice for giving you an extra bit of sweetness – as well as packing in some cool anti-inflammatory powers, which means it could help to tackle tummy troubles. As an added bonus, cinnamon may even help with regulating your blood sugar levels.
Not only giving you a great flavour, but anti-inflammatory action that could soothe your tummy too. With its antimicrobial activity, it could even help to prevent the growth of bad bacteria like E. coli.
Love it or hate it, coriander is another spice that could be a treat for your tummy. Coriander has what we call a carminative effect, which means it’s been shown to relieve gas and bloating. It could even help improve tummy troubles like IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).
Adding a spicy kick and bacteria-boosting benefits – this is another spice with the power to improve inflammation in your tummy, thanks to a substance called capsaicin.
Last but not least, ginger is one of the most well-known spices to help your tummy, thanks to its soothing abilities for an upset tummy and power to combat nausea.