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10th day of Christmas - Health Benefits of Christmas Spices

What's your favourite Christmas Spice? Mine is hands down cardamon, although I love ginger, and I love the opportunity to use Nutmeg (as I rarely do), and I love the excuse to pin the cloves on the ham leg each year too! Well, all these spices actually have lovely health benefits behind their beautiful aroma and Christmassy feelings.

Cardamon is the Queen of Spice, and is indicated in health promoting properties as it's a potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antiviral, and also indicated as lipid modifying, anti-hypertensive and anti-diabetic. It goes beautifully with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger and can be sampled from seeds, pods or ground.

Ginger is readily used in herbal and complementary medicine because of it's pain relieving qualities, anti-nausea and vomiting potential, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and antioxdiant properties. It also has the potential to prevent some neurological disease and arthritis. It's perfect on it's own fresh in tea or water, fresh or ground in cakes, puddings, curries and stir fries.

Nutmeg originated in Indonesia and is most potent freshly grated. It has potential to have anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and hepato-protective effects, and trials are ongoing to suggest that Nutmeg extract is a prebiotic that can regulate gut microbes and metabolites to reduce inflammation. It goes beautifully with cinnamon or cardamon especially in warming drinks.

Cloves also originate in Indonesia and are actually dried flower buds. It is high in vitamin A, B3 and B6 and contains highly bioactive Eugenol, which has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-microbial potential. Ground or whole, cloves can flavour sweet or savoury dishes to invoke a strong and Christmassy flavour.

So which is your favourite Christmas spice and did you know all these amazing health benefits about the humble spice?

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