Healthy Herbs and Spices for Cooking

Flavour-enhancing ingredients such as garlic, chilli, ginger, and turmeric contain nutrients and antioxidants that may be beneficial to your health and they give your food a healthy, perk too without sacrificing taste.

Spices and Herbs

Next time you cook up a storm, try to incorporate more of these aromatic and flavourful ingredients to your favourite dishes for a quick and easy health boost:


The humble garlic is a staple in Chinese cooking and can be consumed raw, chopped or pressed. Rich in vitamins B, C and selenium, garlic can help to stave off colds, and may help protect against oxidative damage.


What is Asian cuisine without the heat of chili? The bright colour of red chili signals its high content of beta-carotene or pro-vitamin A. Chilli is also high in vitamin C, which helps to fight infection and boost immunity.


A highly fragrant plant often used in Thai and Italian cooking, basil comes in more than 60 varieties and is an excellent source of magnesium and vitamin K, plus a good source of copper and vitamin C. The beta-carotene found in basil may also help to lessen and may help protect against oxidative damage.


Another fragrant, sweet and warm spice, cinnamon is a joy to add in cooking and may help to improve the digestive system. Try adding cinnamon to your coffee, desserts, and oatmeal or make a snack of cinnamon toast for a pleasant and aromatic health lift.


Paired with lamb or chicken, rosemary adds a wonderful flavour to meats but it can also be added to drinks and cakes for a herbaceous lift. Grow some at home or distill it into essential oil for easy access to its health benefits including improving memory and boosting immunity.

Related: Spice Up Your Life: Get Fresh With Herbs

Healthy Recipes

Need some inspiration? Check out these healthy dishes that can be whipped up in 30 minutes or less.

Tossed Prawn Noodles with Spinach Chips

Tossed Prawn Noodles with Spinach Chips

An inventive health-conscious dish that combines Eastern and Western flavours with the addition of air-fried spinach chips.

Why it’s good for you:

  • Coriander and Spinach
    With the leaves rich in vitamin C, vitamin K, protein and small amounts of other minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, which are good for building strong bones and teeth, coriander and spinach provide strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits.
  • Whole Wheat Mee Sua
    Replacing white flour noodles, whole wheat mee sua is higher in fibre, vitamin E and vitamin B6.

View the recipe for Tossed Prawn Noodles with Spinach Chips [PDF].

Related: Wok Fried Broccoli with Assorted Mushroom

Spiced Stuffed Capsicums

Spiced Stuffed Capsicums

This brightly coloured dish is both pleasing to the eyes and waistline. A medley of vegetables and rice stuffed in a capsicum is great and handy for fussy children. Simply remove the meat for a vegetarian version.

Why it’s good for you:

  • Capsicum
    Bright-coloured vegetables such as capsicums not only add vibrancy to a dish, they are also rich in beta-carotene, a precursor to vitamin A, which is important for healthy skin and good eye vision. Capsicums also contain high amounts of B-complex vitamins and C, which are vital for cellular metabolism.
  • Ginger
    Gingerols, the main active components in ginger, and the ones responsible for its distinctive flavour are beneficial in treating ailments such as nausea, digestion, flu and cold and more. Boil it with water to make a soothing tea, or add some to your cold-press juices for a spicy and healthy zing.

View the recipe for Spiced Stuffed Capsicums [PDF].

Related: Stuffed Tomato with Garlic Sauce

Tandoori Chicken Curry with Pomegranate Mint Yoghurt Salad

Tandoori Chicken Curry

A healthy twist to the traditional tandoori chicken curry, this dish is paired with a light and refreshing salad so that it is less heavy on the stomach.

Why it’s good for you:

  • Curry
    The spice mix of curry powder has a multitude of health benefits. Usually containing a blend of ginger, garlic, fennel, turmeric, coriander, cardamom and more, curry powders help in appetite – just watch the coconut milk!
  • Yoghurt
    Containing the healthy bacteria, probiotics, yoghurt can help boost your immune system and relieve digestive issues such as gas, diarrhea and pain. It is also high in calcium for good bone health. Choose low-fat or HCS yoghurt as a lighter version.

View the recipe for Tandoori Chicken Curry with Pomegranate Mint Yoghurt Salad [PDF].

Healthy Brown Rice Bee Hoon Mee Soto

Healthy Brown Rice Bee Hoon Soto

A healthier version of the hawker-favourite Soto, this dish features many wonderful herbs and spices to provide a kick of taste and nutrition without relying on any soy sauce or salt. Sweet lemongrass, coriander roots, and spicy galangal add depth to the soup, while a blend of spices such as nutty cumin seeds, warming cloves, and star anise gives the dish its unique and complex flavour profile.

Why it’s good for you:

  • Turmeric
    Tumeric, a spice essential to curry, has a bitter, slightly aromatic taste. It is frequently used to add colour to food.
  • Fennel
    With a distinctive liquorice-like flavour, fennel lifts this dish aromatically while supporting good heart health, thanks to its high content of fibre, potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, and phytonutrient content.
  • Brown Rice Bee Hoon
    Brown rice bee hoon contains more fibre than regular white bee hoon – there is 4.6g per 100g of fibre in brown rice bee hoon, compared with just 1.7g per 100g in white bee hoon.

View the recipe for Healthy Brown Rice Bee Hoon Soto [PDF].

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