Spices can make your food come alive with next to no added calories, but did you know many also come with surprising health benefits for women? While traditional medicine has advocated using spices for centuries, modern science is beginning to uncover the healing properties of spices. Plus, dieticians and nutritionists are increasingly recommending  adding spices to food as a simple and easy way to live a healthier life. And even if you don’t start noticing improvements, at the very least – your food tastes better using ingredients from mother nature! Check out some lesser-known super spices available right here in Manila!


This tiny seed looks unassuming, but it sure packs a punch of flavor.  Native to Egypt, this aromatic spice is often used in Indian, Mexican and Middle Eastern cuisines. The spice is known to have a range of health benefits including antiseptic properties to help fight colds.  Additionally, cumin is a rich source of manganese – a nutrient that is not produced in the body. It also has substantial iron content – that’s good news for us ladies who lose a lot of iron during our menstrual cycle!

Add A Pinch To: Tea, Rice, Sauteed Veggies
Available inMustafa Mini Mart


Cinnamon is such a well-known spice, it probably doesn’t even require an introduction. Perhaps not as well-known are the tasty spice’s health benefits – you’ll be happy to learn it’s jam-packed with highly potent antioxidants (polyphenols) that help improve overall health. Cinnamon also has some women-centric benefits – some studies show it helps alleviate symptoms of PMS, while other studies indicate that the spice helps restrict the spread of yeast infections.The health benefits of cinnamon don’t stop there! In the Philippines – where diabetes is a leading cause of death – sufferers may even benefit from adding more cinnamon in their diets via oatmeal, pancakes, coffee and what have you. Cinnamon is shown to have “insulin-like” effects and is known to improve the effectiveness or sensitivity to insulin, aiding in managing blood sugar levels. So, sprinkle away, ladies!

         Add A Pinch To:  Lattes, oatmeal, puddings, pancakes
Available inMustafa Mini Mart

Cayenne Pepper (Red Chili Pepper)

Cayenne peppers are considered amongst the spiciest chilli peppers in the world! Cayenne pepper is commonly found in a powder form and can be sprinkled over some of your favorite foods. These fiery dynamos have a history of relieving pain and being used as a natural antibiotic– but guess what? Studies are beginning to show that it also aids in weight loss and appetite reduction – especially if you don’t normally eat spicy food. Due to their spicy flavor, cayenne peppers cause body temperatures to rise when consumed, when the body cools down it’s forced to expend calories.  While cayenne peppers can facilitate weight loss, it shouldn’t be considered a substantive weight loss method.

If you dont enjoy eating spicy food or cannot eat spicy food, cayenne pepper capsules are an alternative to help kickstart your metabolism!

Add A Pinch To: Soup, Stews, Ground Meat
Available inMustafa Mini Mart


Tumeric comes from the root of its tropical plant. Locally known as luyang dilaw (yellow ginger), it’s commonly recognized as the powerful, golden-yellow seasoning used to infuse flavor (and color) into curries.

In ancient Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric was known to help with anything from joint pain to regulating menstruation to dispelling worms.  Although modern science hasn’t backed everything up, research continues to uncover that circumin (a compound found in cumin) has numerous health benefits.

Some of my lady friends use turmeric in face masks to fight acne thanks to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, while some even drink turmeric teas to help keep their hormones in check. Among other health benefits, turmeric is reported to help tame indigestion, delay diabetes, relieve pain from arthiritis, and even fight cancer.

Add To: Rice, scrambled eggs, omelette, soups, turmeric and ginger tea 
Available In: Assads’s Minimart, Mustafa Mini Mart

Image source: iStock Photo