ginger with the skin being shaved off with a spoon

Herbs and spices are such important ingredients to any cook. They can add fantastic flavour to a meal or drink, and have great nutritional benefits, too. Fresh herbs work especially well – particularly mint and basil – to add a delicate flavour to plain old water and create a more interesting way to stay hydrated. 

Using spices and herbs in a dish can reduce the amount of salt that’s needed without compromising the flavour, and a small amount of spice goes a long way due to the flavour they can pack in.

Ginger is a favourite of mine on the spice front, I really love its warm, spicy, punchy, pungent flavour and, whether dried or fresh, it’s always an ingredient I’m well stocked up on. Ginger is often used in hot drinks, but it’s also a fantastic ingredient in stir-fries, cakes, smoothies, desserts, meat and fish rubs and so much more.

Ginger is a great ingredient to get into your diet when you can. Not only does it add a lovely, warm, distinctive flavour, it has long been reputed for its many health benefits. Ground ginger is a good source of manganese which helps contribute to the normal formation of connective tissue in the body, while fresh ginger is a great source of potassium, which helps the nervous system function properly, and contributes to the maintenance of normal blood pressure.


Many herbs and spices are packed full of micronutrients. Turmeric is a great example – it’s often used in curries and sauces such as piccalilli, and is what creates that distinctive bright yellow colour. Just like ginger, turmeric works well in both sweet and savoury dishes, in everything from cakes and biscuits to soups, kebabs and roasted chicken. Turmeric is super-high in iron, which we all need to make red blood cells and transport oxygen around the body. Iron also helps contribute to the normal function of the immune system.

So, as you can see, using lots of herbs and spices does wonders for flavouring food, but also for your health too!

For loads of ideas and inspiration, have a look through our collection of healthy ginger recipes below!

Marinated overnight, this gnarly, tender tandoori chicken has incredible depth of flavour


With sticky, spicy prawns and caramelised pineapple, this is better than a take-away any day!


Everyone loves a good chicken curry – this one is great value and it looks phenomenal


These simple and delicious steamed wontons are the perfect nibbles for feeding a crowd

About the author

Laura Matthews

Laura is head of nutrition at Jamie Oliver. Her passion for food comes from having cooking lessons at a local college from the age of 10, and the nutrition side from a fascination for how the right foods can fuel the body.

Laura Matthews