Often when we think about superfoods, açaí bowls and obscure powders and tonics found only in health food stores might come to mind… But what many of us don’t realise is that we’ve probably got a powerful arsenal of superfood spices and herbs already - in the pantry!


Some the most potent antioxidants on earth are found in herbs and spices. With practically zero calories, herbs and spices are perhaps the simplest way to amp up your meals and daily nutritionals. Lucky for us, most of these superfood spices are a quick trip to the supermarket away.

Antioxidants and ORAC values

ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. It's a lab test that attempts to quantify the "total antioxidant capacity" (TAC) of a food. Antioxidants are important because they protect our body’s cells from free radical damage, the kind of activity that contributes to ageing and disease.


To give you an idea of what we’re looking at, dark chocolate has a maximum ORAC value of 20,823, while cinnamon has a maximum value of 267,536. The 'it' superfood spice turmeric has an ORAC value of 159,277! For ORAC values on other functional superfood spices, check out this link and this one.


The ‘it’ spice of late, filling up your Instagram feed in the form of turmeric lattes, historically has been used in Ayurvedic medicine.The Western world was slow to catch on, but turmeric primarily used in South Asia has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.


Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric, however the curcumin content of turmeric is not very high (around 3%, by weight) therefore many studies use large amounts of curcumin in quantities that would be pretty difficult to consume!


Due to the absorption issue of curcumin, one practical tip is to pair turmeric with black pepper, since it helps boost turmeric’s absorption from the digestive system into the bloodstream. Looking for a way to use turmeric powder? We love these turmeric scrambled chickpeas and this variation on chia pudding below, including other superfood spices like ginger and cinnamon.

Golden Chia Seed Pudding






Whisk together all ingredients in a bowl until combined thoroughly.


Pour into two glass jars and pop in the fridge to set.


Ashwagandha, also known as Indian Ginseng is perhaps one of the most important herbs of Ayurveda (the traditional system of medicine in India). Among the Ayurvedic Rasayana herbs, Ashwagandha is known as “Sattvic Kapha Rasayana, an adaptogen, and anti-stress agent (think maca powder), also with antioxidant properties.


Before you go crazy with this one, like anything you should always seek advice from a medical professional first. Herbs, minerals, or metals may be harmful, particularly if used improperly or without the direction of a trained practitioner. Scientific evidence is lacking here, specifically controlled clinical trials and research reviews on Ayurvedic medicine - which are the gold standard in medical research.


Having said that, if you are wanting to incorporate some Indian Ginseng into your life, give this restorative superfood golden latte a go below.

Superfood Golden Latte






Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth. Transfer your milk to a small pan and heat for 3-5 minutes over medium heat.


Remove from heat, divide between mugs and then stir in a half tablespoon of coconut oil per mug. Drink immediately.

Maca Powder

This superfood has gained quite the reputation as a means to naturally balance out of whack hormones, even Harvard MD Sarah Gottried swears by maca powder.


Also known as “Peruvian Ginseng” maca is an adaptogenic herb, which means (if you’re wondering) that while the herb does not contain any hormones, and consequently can help the body function optimally during times of stress.


Maca does this by stimulating and nourishing the hypothalamus and pituitary glands which are the “master glands” of the body. These glands regulate other glands, and therefore can bring balance to the adrenal, thyroid, pancreas, ovarian and testicular glands.


One of the other awesome things about maca is it tastes a bit like caramel. Get the recipe for this caramel hot cocoa here.


Ginger, for the longest time (thousands of years actually) has been used in Chinese medicine for relieving digestive issues, nausea and loss of appetite to name a few.


Gingerol and shogaol are well known components of ginger, with 6-shogaol exhibiting the most potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Maybe you already have some ginger in your pantry... Perhaps it is time to give this superfood spice a workout!


We love using ginger in baking, like this banana loaf and it’s a great way to add flavour to your overnight oats, without the sugar. It’s also great used in savoury dishes like this roasted pumpkin bowl with turmeric tahini dressing.


Like many of these other superfood spices, cinnamon has for the longest time been used medicinally across the globe, and still is today by many cultures.


Cinnamon contains an ORAC value of 267,536, and is packed with a variety of protective antioxidants that protect our body’s cells from free radical damage – some of which also have anti-inflammatory properties.


There are loads o ways you can incorporate this super spice into your diet, whether it’s a pinch in your morning green smoothie, on our oats or even sprinkled on your baked kumara fries.


This turmeric tahini dressing below is a simple way to get the benefits of turmeric and ginger with almost any meal. Make up a double batch for salads, Buddha bowls and roasted vegetables, it's absolutely delicious.

Turmeric Tahini Dressing






Whisk all dressing ingredients together until well combined and creamy. Transfer your dressing to a jar and place in the fridge until your ready to serve up your salad. Dressing will keep for 5 days.


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