While most barbecue fare gets a bum rap for being loaded with fat, excess sodium and calories, this Fourth of July, why not grill up your favorite outdoor eats with calorie-free but super flavorful spices?
Recent research has shown that spices like turmeric, cumin, cayenne pepper and countless others contain specific compounds that may help to stave off diseases. Here’s your guide to the best grilling spices to give your July 4th feast more nutritious flare!
Turmeric: Numerous studies have linked turmeric to reducing inflammation, lowering cholesterol, and preventing and treating cancer cell growth. Curcumin, the substance in turmeric that gives it its trademark yellow color, is the magic compound behind most of these health benefits. To get the benefits of turmeric, add a few dashes to your Fourth of July potato or egg salad.
Cayenne Pepper: Capsaicin is the powerful compound in this fiery spice that imparts its heating qualities that have been linked to increasing metabolism, improving blood circulation, clearing nasal passages and jump-starting a sluggish metabolism. Cayenne pepper is also an excellent source of Vitamin A, a disease-fighting antioxidant. Sprinkle a few meager dashes on pineapple rings, peach, nectarine or plum halves or mango wedges. Grill the fruit for a few minutes on each side and finish with a squeeze of Vitamin C-rich lime juice for a healthy twist on summer fruit.
Garlic: A member of allium family, garlic is one of the most beloved culinary condiments. Linked to preventing heart disease, boosting the immune system, regulating blood sugar levels and possessing antibacterial properties, it is no wonder that garlic has been used for medicinal purposes since 2560 BC. Add whole garlic cloves to chicken, steak, fish or veggie marinades before setting them on the grill. Or chop garlic finely and add it to ground meat, turkey or salmon to give your burgers a flavorful flare.
Ginger: This pungent spice has been shown to quell nausea, decrease joint pain from arthritis and reduce cholesterol levels making it a powerful ally in the fight against heart disease. While many sushi lovers are familiar with pickled ginger, for a speedy but tasty marinade, slice ginger in thin slices and add in soy sauce, sesame oil and a spoonful of honey. Let chicken breasts or steak rest in the marinade for 30 minutes and grill until done. Or try the Biggest Loser’s recipe for grilled salmon burgers with fresh ginger.
Happy grilling and happy Fourth!
July 4th, 2009