In India, we use garam masala (hot spice) all through the cold months. The masala is a combination of beneficial spices that have been lightly roasted and powdered together. It is stirred into curries and sprinkled on rice, so that its time-tested benefits can protect us from colds, coughs, aching joints and other winter woes.
The spices that come together to make garam masala are stars in their own right. Here’s a quick look at their winter-friendly benefits:
Cloves: cloves are beneficial all year round, in winter they improve blood circulation, clear the respiratory passages, and keep your digestive system healthy during the holiday season, too. Add a clove or two to ‘gas-causing’ foods such as cauliflower and beans, and your stomach will stay calm. They taste great in pies and puddings, too.
Cardamom: This warming spice heals the respiratory tract, keeps all three doshas (Vata, Pitta and Kapha) balanced, and keeps feeling energetic. Enjoy it in tea, pop a pod of it when cooking rice, or add it to baked squash or pumpkin soup.
Black pepper: The incredible benefits of this wonder spice in winter- to battling chest congestion, boosting appetite, improving digestion, and protecting you from the lurking army of germs and pollutants. Grate it over pasta, grind and sprinkle it on soups, and add it to grills and bakes for a peppery kick.
Cumin seeds: Cumin has been used for centuries to cure colds and treat coughs. This earthy, flavourful spice maintains reproductive health and is also a powerful disinfectant.
Cinnamon: Winter is unimaginable without it, but while you love its delicate, sweet fragrance. Cinnamon brings relief from arthritis, keeps the brain sharp, fights bacteria and lowers bad cholesterol.