Spicy food can be just the thing in the warmer weather but there’s another great reason to try something new and exotic. From soothing joint pain to easing indigestion, we look at the surprising health benefits thought to be behind some of our favourite spices. They are the secret behind some of our most popular ready meals, from curries and Mediterranean classics to warming desserts. But far from simply adding mouth-watering flavours, these small yet powerful seasonings are believed to be good for us, too. Here’s a sprinkling of some of the world’s favourite herbs and spices, and the benefits they’re believed to have to our health: Turmeric This colourful, golden yellow component of most of our favourite curries – including Chicken Tikka Masala – has anti-inflammatory properties, and can be used to help relieve painful arthritis symptoms. Why not try: Moroccan Lamb or Oriental Chicken Noodles – just the thing to spice up dinnertime this summer. Chilli Pepper Chillies are so popular in the cuisines of hot countries because, by making you sweat, they help you cool down. All chillies, from mild paprika up to spicy scotch bonnets, also contain a natural chemical that helps your stomach cells fight off bacteria. Why not try: Chilli con Carne or Bohemian Goulash, our warming pork stew with smoky paprika. Ginger This fiery root has been used to settle upset stomachs for centuries. Ginger is also anti-inflammatory, and can help relieve joint pain caused by arthritis. Why not try: Shanghai Beef drenched in a fragrant sesame, ginger and chilli sauce. Followed by Chunky Ginger Ice Cream for a sweet treat. If you’re not a fan of spicy foods, herbs can be a great way to flavour your meals too – here are some of the most widely used and some interesting health benefits that may surprise you… Parsley This popular garnish is high in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, and can help cells repair themselves. In concentrated doses, scientists have found that natural chemicals in parsley can neutralise cancer-causing compounds called carcinogens. Why not try: Chicken Casserole with Herby Mash or succulent Cod in Parsley. Rosemary In folklore, this fragrant herb was thought to improve memory, and is a symbol of remembrance across the world. When used in cookery, it can help make cooked meats healthier by fighting foodborne bacteria. Why not try: Lamb and Barley Hotpot, packed full of tender lamb and vegetables in a rich tomato and redcurrant sauce. Find out more If you fancy trying some of these delicious dishes you can find our full range of home delivered ready meals here. Or why not ask for a free brochure to read through in your own time?