As a nutritionist and fan of good cuisine, I always incorporate herbs and spices into my recipes. To me, the flavor (and health,) of a dish is improved when they are used in proper amounts.

Similar to their flavor, herbs and spices contain health-promoting antioxidants that are highly concentrated and therefore only need to be added to meals in minimal amounts for health benefit.

An interesting study published in the current issue of Journal of Nutrition found that eating a diet rich in spices reduced the body’s negative responses to eating high-fat meals.

Researchers prepared meals for overweight men that either consisted of two tablespoons of culinary spices to the test meal, or a control meal. They then drew blood samples every 30 minutes for 3 hours. In those who consumed the spiced meal, antioxidant activity in the blood was increased by 13 percent and insulin response decreased by about 20 percent.

The researchers concluded that these herbs and spices contained high antioxidant activity and therefore helped to combat oxidative stress (a contributor to heart disease and diabetes,) associated with consuming the high fat meal.  They further noted that the antioxidant amount used in the meals were equivalent to 5 ounces of red wine or 1.4 ounces of dark chocolate.

So what herbs and spices were the winners in this study?

Turmeric, cinnamon, rosemary, oregano, black pepper, cloves, garlic powder and paprika topped the list!

Yours in Health & Beauty,