With Christmas and its indulgences just around the corner, it’s good to be mindful of your eating while truly enjoying all the delicious holiday treats. It’s perfectly fine to treat yourself, but if your body is struggling to cope with the indulgence, these herbs can balance you out. 


The following nine spices can be added to your Christmas dishes or enjoyed with regular meals.


If you use these frequently, you will see the benefits after only four or five days. You will feel less bloated, you will digest better, and as a consequence, your overall appearance will change too. You’ll feel less tired and have more energy to work out. You might lose weight if this is one of your goals and the skin will glow more. 


Try to have at least some of these herbs every day.


1. Turmeric


Turmeric powder


A powerful anti-inflammatory spice, turmeric improves the body’s ability to break down food which improves nutrients absorption. It improves protein digestion, which is important for gut health because undigested protein can cause inflammation in the gut. 


This would disrupt the integrity of the gut lining by impacting the gut flora and the immune system. Turmeric also encourages regular bowel movement.


How to use turmeric: It is best utilised when consumed with a fat, for example coconut oil. You can use it in curries, stir fries, eggs, meat, fish, yogurt, or in hot beverages like tea and milk. 

2. Ginger  




Like turmeric, ginger helps with digestion and it is a powerful anti-inflammatory; in Chinese medicine, doctors say that it helps break down sweet food, like squash and sweet potatoes. 


It increases metabolism, used as an anti-nausea effect and it helps with feelings of fullness. 


How to use ginger: You can make fresh juice with ginger or brew it in tea. It can also be grated or cooked in curries, stir fries, marinated chicken, and salmon. It can be used as a pickle as a side dish or appetizer to stimulate digestion.

3. Rosemary




It is a powerful antioxidant and may have prebiotic properties, which means it enhances the growth of beneficial bacteria. 


Traditionally, it was used for indigestion and to treat gas and bloating caused by poor fat digestion.


How to use rosemary: You can add its leaves to many dishes, like potatoes, roasted chicken, white fish, various meats, and bread. You can also infuse it in extra virgin olive oil, which is traditional in Mediterranean countries.


4. Sage 




Sage supports digestion, reduces bloating and inflammation,  protects against infections, and lowers blood sugar.


How to use sage: You can saute it in butter or olive oil, and add it to chicken, seafood, and root vegetables. It adds a delicious taste to polenta, and beans, and can be used in many stews and soups. 


5. Garlic 




Garlic is technically a vegetable but it is used to flavour dishes. Garlic is a strong antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral vegetable, and it also reduces blood sugar.


How to use garlic: You can use it raw or roasted into dips, sauces or dressings, like for pesto and hummus; it can also be crushed or chopped and added into meat, cooked grains, stir fries and vegetables. 


6. Cinnamon 




Cinnamon helps to restore the gut lining. It is used for indigestion, nausea, and regulating blood sugar.


How to use cinnamon: You can use it in hot beverages to add a spicy, earthy flavour. Cinnamon pairs well with foods like apples, pears, bananas, squash, sweet potatoes, grains, baked goods, coffee, and tea. 


7. Black pepper 


Black pepper

Black pepper helps with digesting fat and has positive effects on weight management. It’s an antioxidant that can ease constipation.


How to use black pepper: You can use it in any savoury dish.


8. Fennel 




Fennel has antioxidant properties. It can improve digestion, suppress appetite, and support healthy liver function. It is believed that drinking fennel seed tea can help with healthy weight loss. 


How to use fennel: Fennel can be chopped or sauted and used in seafood, poultry, and vegetable dishes. Its seeds, bulbs, and leaves can be used in stews, soups, stir fries and curries.


9. Basil 




Basil’s oils have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. It is used for calming and stabilising the mood. It is also used as an anti-nausea remedy and it helps with gas and digestive spasms. 


How to use basil: You can use it fresh or dried. It pairs really well with pesto, sauces, Mediterranean dishes, and pasta salads.


Start getting from today to be creative with these herbs and spices. What are your favourite herbs and spices to cook among the ones listed? Choose one to experiment with in the kitchen and share your favourite recipes with me!


If you need some ideas, check out my three recipes that include these ingredients.


Happy cooking!