Herbfacts
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Q & A: What are the best warming herbs to try this winter?

“I’ve heard that certain herbs and spices can help warm the body and are better to eat during winter.  I suffer from Raynaud’s disease and am looking for some self-help tips. Can you advise? I’m 40 years old and generally in good health. “

Clinical Nutritionist Suzie Sawyer answers.

You are quite correct that certain herbs and spices really support the body through the winter months and may also help with Raynaud’s. Take a look at the below list of herbs and spices and how they can help support your health.

Ginger:

Ginger root and groud ginger spice in wooden pot

The body actually tends to crave warming foods during the winter months, which in turn also supports the immune system. Ginger is also really good for circulation. It’s really easy to make ginger and lemon tea just by crushing fresh ginger, slicing some lemon and pouring hot water over.  You can sip this throughout the day.  Alternatively, ginger works well in stir-fries, curries or Thai fish dishes – in fact the list is endless!

Oregano

Dried oregano in a wooden bowl and fresh oregano plant

Popular on pizzas and in Italian dishes, oregano is another warming herb, often used to fight colds and flu but also for digestive upsets.  It is readily available in its dried form and can be liberally used in many dishes, especially typical Italian ones such as spaghetti bolognaise and pasta dishes.

Turmeric

Turmeric root and a bowl of turmeric powder

Turmeric has also become incredibly popular recently due to the positive research emerging around its amazing health benefits, especially relating to liver, brain and joint health.  However, it certainly warms the body and can be used in curries and soups or even to make spicy scrambled eggs.  Turmeric is also great sprinkled over roasted root veggies.

Cinnamon and Nutmeg

Whole nutmegs and ground nutmeg in a bowl

Spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg, the smell of which is so reminiscent of Christmas, are popular during the winter months, partly because they’re so incredibly warming, not to mention delicious.

Cinnamon also helps balance blood sugar so is great for managing weight.  Most importantly though, it’s brilliant sprinkled over porridge making it the perfect start to the day.  Nutmeg works well with sweet dishes, especially stewed apples – another great topping for your morning cereal.

Black Pepper

Close up of ground black pepper and peppercorns in a wooden bowl

Just liberally grinding fresh black pepper over your meals will also go along way to warming the body. It also helps with the absorption of turmeric so consider using both in your dishes.

The more you use these herbs and spices, the more benefits you will feel,  so enjoy getting creative!

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