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What spices are good for my skin?

Spices are excellent for younger skin, acne, the immune system and general health.
Note: If you have eczema or salicylate sensitivity avoid spices during the first stage of The Eczema Diet and visit The Eczema Blog for advice that is right for you.
Why Yellow Curry Powder is great!
Yellow curry powder contains turmeric, cumin and ginger which help protect your skin from AGE-related damage.
Turmeric gives curry its yellow–orange colour thanks to the presence of curcumin. Curcumin has been widely researched because it has an exciting spectrum of therapeutic activities including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-cancer, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral and blood-thinning properties. In lab studies, curcumin improves collagen formation and accelerates wound healing; it inhibits AGE formation and prevents collagen cross-linking and damage.

Cumin seeds, often used in the form of ground cumin, add a delicious mild flavour to curries. Cumin has been touted as an ‘anti-diabetic spice’ and it’s almost as potent as cinnamon when it comes to lowering blood sugar levels. Cumin is also capable of reducing oxidative stress and inhibiting AGE formation and cross-linking of proteins making it a wonderful addition to any anti-ageing diet.

Ginger, often used as fresh ginger root or ground ginger,  is another common curry spice that inhibits glycation, and has an anti-inflammatory effect on the skin. Ginger also boosts levels of important anti-ageing enzymes glutathione (GSH) and superoxide dismutase (SOD), which play a role in longevity and younger skin.
Why you should add cloves and cinnamon as well:
Of all the herbs and spices, cloves are the best at preventing AGE formation according to lab studies. Cloves are unopened flower buds and have been highly prized since ancient times. In 207 bc cloves were used to sweeten the breath of Chinese emperors. Cloves’ medicinal properties include anti-fungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-diabetic and anti-thrombotic activity. According to research, a drop of clove oil has antioxidants 400 times more powerful than blueberries. Eugenol, the key ingredient in cloves, reduces inflammation by blocking series 2 prostaglandin formation.

Clove tea is beneficial for eliminating intestinal worms, candida albicans and other parasites — but be warned, a high dose of clove can cause a temporary bowel flushing effect which helps with the elimination process. Cloves are best used in curries in the form of garam masala, a popular spice mix made from ground cloves, cinnamon, cumin, black pepper and cardamom. And cloves are often in chai tea — favour the leaf or tea bag varieties (not powdered chai, which is rich in sugar and powdered dairy milk). 
Cinnamon is the second best spice (after cloves) at inhibiting AGE formation. And it has the added benefit of containing protective phytochemicals such as cinnamaldehyde, which reduces blood sugar levels, promotes satiety (so you’re less likely to overeat) and lowers LDL cholesterol, which is the bad kind. What is most exciting and useful about cinnamon is its potent ability to slow the absorption of carbohydrates in the bowel, so your body needs less insulin to control blood sugar, making cinnamon a super anti-ageing spice. 
Here is a recipe that takes advantage of all these spices! For more recipes and other healthy skin tips the book, Younger Skin in 28 Days by Karen Fischer is a great resource. 
Eggplant and Cauliflower Curry

SERVES 2: PREPARATION TIME 10 MINUTES, COOKING TIME 15 MINUTES

This tasty vegetarian curry is rich in cancer-protective flavonoids, enhanced by the
addition of black pepper. The curry spices, cauliflower and ginger enhance phase II
liver detoxification (elimination of chemicals and hormones), boost immunity
and promote acid–alkaline balance in the body. The eggplant is rich in collagen-
protective anthocyanins.
Ingredients:
  • 3 teaspoons mild yellow curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 21⁄2 cups organic vegetable stock or Anti-ageing Broth (this recipe is in the book, Younger Skin in 28 Days by Karen Fischer) 
  • 1 cup finely diced eggplant (aubergine)
  • 11⁄2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 11⁄2 cups chopped cauliflower
  • 1⁄2 cup coconut milk
  • 1⁄2 cup basmati rice
  • 1 cup loosely packed coriander (cilantro) leaves, chopped
  • ground black pepper
Method:
  1. Heat a large saucepan over low heat and sauté the curry powder, garam masala, cinnamon and garlic for less than 1 minute.
  2. Add the stock or broth and bring to the boil.
  3. Add the eggplant, ginger, cauliflower and coconut milk, then reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  4. In another saucepan, bring plenty of water to the boil and cook the rice according
  5. to packet instructions (approx. 10 minutes). Drain.
  6. Mix coriander into the curry.
  7. Serve the curry on a bed of rice.
  8. Add pepper and garnish with extra coriander.

Enjoy! 

Extra tip: Add red cabbage for an extra skin boost!

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