Are spices good or bad for you?

Spices have always been said to have health enhancing qualities, but are they really good for a hangover and can they help lower your weight? Or are spices just part of a recipe to add a little additional flavour to the dish?

Balanced digestive system

Some believe that spices can be used to balance your digestive system. Certain spices can relieve disorder in the digestive system, for example ginger is often said to improve digestion, but there’s no scientific evidence to agree this.

US studies

Boffins at the Human Performance Lab at Appalachian State University in North Carolina have asked themselves the same question we’re posing here. Their studies on red pepper and turmeric aimed to find out if these spices could reduce chronic inflammation in a group of overweight female patients aged between 40 and 72. They believed that oxidative stress was the cause of the inflammation these women were experiencing. That’s a process where free radicals damage tissue or create physiological events within the body. Their results were inconclusive at best, even though they spent a lot of money and 4 weeks on this study.

Weight-loss spices

Cayenne pepper is often cited as a spice that can help you lose weight. Adding it to a pouched egg or onto a corn on the cob is said to help you diet but is there any evidence to support this? Unfortunately for those looking desperately for weight-loss solutions, this isn’t one as Purdue University in Indiana proved when they carried out a study.

Are they good for your health then?

There’s no evidence to say that they have either a negative or positive effect on your health. Perhaps we should just go back to seeing spices as something to make bland food taste a bit better and give up on any notion that spices can do more than that. Now that's established, why not go ahead and follow the recipe for this curry.

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