Even in Fatty Meals, Spices Have Health Value


Spices have long been a favored way of dressing up food without added calories, but a new study suggests spices can be effective in other ways when added to fatty foods.

According to the study from Pennsylvania State University published in this month's Journal of Nutrition, adding spices like turmeric, cinnamon, paprika and black pepper could help reduce triglyceride levels by up to 30 percent compared to meals in which no spices were added. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the bloodstream.

Researchers fed six overweight but otherwise healthy men two separate meals consisting of chicken curry, Italian herb bread and cinnamon biscuits. Antioxidant-rich spices like rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, cloves, garlic powder and paprika were added to one meal. Blood samples were drawn from the participants every 30 minutes for three hours after the meal, and were found to have increased antioxidant activity by 13 percent and decreased insulin response of 20 percent after consuming the spice-laden meal.

The spice dosage provided the same amount of antioxidants contained in five ounces of red wine or 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate. 

Another study out of the University of Georgia also found herbs and spices like cloves, cinnamon, pregano and sage inhibited tissue damage and inflammation caused by high levels of blood sugar.

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