Tag Archives: spices

Chef Secrets: 11 Kitchen Essentials for Easy Cooking and Healthy Eating

kitchen

By Team Best Life

Some kitchen setups support weight loss efforts while others sabotage them. (The one pictured above looks like a good start to us!) Luckily it’s easy to make over a less-than-healthy cooking and baking space. If you have the right gadgets on your counters and fill your fridge and cabinets with the right foods your kitchen can be a weight loss haven, says Best Life chef Sidra Forman. Here are her 11 healthy kitchen essentials:

Must-Have Gadgets
1. A peeler
A good peeler opens up a whole world of fresh vegetables that might otherwise seem like a huge amount of labor to get through.

2. A salad spinner
Greens are low in calories and loaded with fiber, vitamins and phytonutrients, plant chemicals that protect against disease. A salad spinner makes it easier to incorporate them into your diet. Whether you’re cooking with them or creating a salad (like this tasty Peach Salad with Balsamic Dressing), you’ll want to start with clean and dry greens.

3. A roasting pan or heavy bottom skillet
Roasting is a cooking method that doesn’t require a ton of fat and brings out the flavors in all sorts of foods. If you do a lot of roasting, you’ll need a heavy bottom skillet. These allow you to cook over high heat—they distribute the heat nicely throughout the bottom of the pan—so food cooks properly without burning. A larger size pan is a good buy because you can use it for a lot of different foods. (more…)

Cook Yourself Healthy with 4 Nutritious Spices

By Abra Pappa for NutritiousAmerica.com

Don’t ignore the nutrient powerhouses hidden away in your spice cabinet. Spices contain phenols which stimulate your immune system to protect against disease and are rich in anti-oxidants to protect your body from free radical damage. Spices can elevate a simple dinner into a nutrient dense, delicious masterpiece.

Here are my four favorite spices and their amazing health and healing properties. Plus, how to use them in your kitchen.

Smoked Paprika – This has been my “spice crush” for quite some time. A little dash turns a simple vegetable dish into something richer, heartier, and so delicious. Paprika, because of its high vitamin C content, helps your body absorb iron rich foods and fight infection. Try smoked paprika in these yummy recipes:

Smokey Joe’s

Smokey Tomato and Greens Soup

Smokey Salmon Kebabs (more…)

Boost Your Health With Holiday Spices

If you’re looking to eat healthier this holiday season, you may not need to look further than your spice rack. Not only can some of your favorite seasonal spices add a little holiday cheer to your favorite dishes, they can also increase the nutritional benefit of each bite that you take.

Ginger

Historically, ginger has been credited with settling an upset stomach; however, the benefits of ginger go far beyond occasional stomach relief. In fact, ginger contains very powerful anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols. These compounds have been shown to reduce pain in those with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis when consumed regularly. Gingerols may also help inhibit the growth of human colorectal and ovarian cancer cells.

To get more ginger in your diet, try Broiled Nectarines with Ginger Syrup

Nutmeg

Nutmeg is a flavorful herb that enhances the flavor of potatoes, chicken, fish, cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage dishes. In a recent study, nutmeg has been shown to play a role in tooth decay prevention due to its antibacterial properties.

To get more nutmeg in your diet, try Greek Yogurt with Honey Roasted Figs

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Your Complete Guide to Cinnamon

There’s a reason why cinnamon stars in all sorts of pies and cakes: it is a warming spice, excellent for balancing the winter chill and “waking up” the sluggish Kapha dosha.

In traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, cinnamon has been used for centuries along with honey, ginger and tea to cure cold and flu.

Regular use of cinnamon improves the body’s ability to utilize blood sugar. In fact, just one gram of cinnamon taken daily can reduce fasting blood sugar, triglycerides, total cholesterol and LDL (“bad’) cholesterol. Researchers are now recommending that Type 2 diabetics take up to 1 tsp of cinnamon daily.

In a study, participants were exposed to four scents: zero odor, peppermint, jasmine, and cinnamon. Guess what? Cinnamon emerged the clear winner in boosting brain function, especially memory and motor co-ordination. Just chewing cinnamon-flavored gum or smelling the spice does the trick. Inhale some cinnamon essential oil and feel the alertness kick in.

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How to Cook Healthy Moroccan Food at Home

Moroccan food, which borrows inspiration from Mediterranean and Middle Eastern culture, is exotic and diverse, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it in your own home as part of a healthy diet.

Moroccan food uses very distinct flavors and spices, such as cumin, coriander, saffron, chiles, dried ginger, cinnamon, and paprika, all of which give a flavor boost without adding fat or calories.

Start Your Meal with Mint Tea

You’ve probably heard diet tips that tell you to drink a full glass of water or eat an apple before beginning a meal to curb your appetite. In Morocco, green tea is a cultural sign of hospitality, friendship and tradition. People drink it throughout the day, so why not begin your meal with a calorie-free cup of tea?

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How to Cook Healthy Indian Food at Home

If you love Indian food but hate feeling weighed down by the grease left behind in most takeout containers, cook Indian food at home with fresh, healthy ingredients that won’t derail your diet.

While Indian cuisine in America is characterized by dense, fried food and oil-rich curries, traditional Indian cuisine incorporates a lot of fresh vegetables, legumes and some of the world’s healthiest spices. Indian cuisine is highly influenced by Hindu beliefs and culture, including the popular practice of vegetarianism in Indian society.

“Vegetables are the life and soul of Indian cuisine,” said Indian chef Suvir Saran in an article on CookingLight.com. “Indian food is best known for heady spices, bold seasonings, and hot dishes, yet ingredients work together to offer contrasts.”

As with any cuisine, you can prepare lighter dishes at home than you would receive in a restaurant because you have complete control over how much salt, butter, cream or oil you add to your dish.

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Paprika and Cinnamon Said to Protect Your Body From Fatty Foods

Spices have always been an easy, low-calorie way to add flavor to your food without extra fat. According to the Daily Mail, a research team from Penn State University has found that a diet rich in spices, including turmeric and cinnamon, can reduce the stress that high-fat foods can place on the heart.

Scientists report that turmeric and cinnamon, two of the healthiest spices, may protect you from the physical damage caused by high-fat meals.

“Normally, when you eat a high-fat meal, you end up with high levels of triglycerides, a type of fat, in your blood,” study leader, Sheila West told the Daily Mail. “If this happens too frequently, or if triglyceride levels are raised too much, your risk of heart disease is increased.”

By adding healthy spices to a high-fat meal, researchers found that the triglyceride response reduced by about 30% when compared to a similar meal with no spices added.

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The Medicine Cabinet in Your Spice Rack

By Steven V. Joyal, MD, VP of Medical & Scientific Affairs at Life Extension.

Spices add delicious flavors and tantalizing aromas to food, but many people don’t realize that spices offer a variety of beneficial, potentially lifesaving, health benefits. Consider your spice rack as a kind of natural medicine cabinet, and unleash amazing health benefits while you spice up your life with the following five spices!

Cinnamon: Derived from the bark of the tree bearing the same name, cinnamon is high in antioxidant activity. Clinical studies show beneficial changes in blood sugar control in patients with type 2 diabetes dosed with cinnamon spice from one to three grams daily. Experimental research suggests that cinnamon may reduce the likelihood that cells in the colon undergo cancerous changes. Essential oils of cinnamon have antimicrobial activity, too, and this helps provide a scientific basis for cinnamon’s traditional use as a natural treatment for diarrhea.

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The Basics of the Anti-Inflammatory Diet

By Melissa Breyer for Care2.com

One year it’s this diet trend, the next year it’s that diet trend. The funny thing is that, aside from the all-celery and 8-grapefruits family of diets, all the smart diets end up saying pretty much the same thing: Eat bushels of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, less animal fat, and cut out refined foods. Genius!

Lately there’s been a flood of diet books based on the anti-inflammatory concept. The gist is that constant or out-of-control inflammation in the body leads to illness, and that eating to avoid constant inflammation inspires better health and can fend off disease. We generally think of inflammation as the painful part of arthritis, but inflammation is also a component of chronic diseases such as heart disease and strokes. Which is why proponents of the diet say it can reduce heart disease risk, keep existing cardiac problems in check, reduce blood triglycerides and blood pressure, and soothe sore and stiff arthritic joints.Different types of spice

Specifics vary from one anti-inflammatory diet to another, but in general, anti-inflammatory diets recommend:

  • Eat plenty and a variety of fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat little saturated and trans fats.
  • Eat omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish or fish oil supplements and walnuts.
  • Limit your intake of refined carbohydrates such as white pasta and white rice.
  • Increase your consumption of whole grains such as brown rice and bulgur wheat.
  • Limit (or quit) your consumption of red meat and full-fat dairy foods, increase lean protein and plant-protein source.
  • Avoid refined foods and processed foods.
  • Generously use anti-inflammatory spices.

By incorporating these herbs and spices into your diet, you get great flavors with healing properties. Researchers from the University of Michigan have found, for example, that basil has anti-inflammatory activity compared to ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin! (more…)

Spice Up Your Meals With Chef Aaron McCargo

Since he won season 4 of the Next Food Network Star, Chef Aaron McCargo Jr. has been known for his preference for bold spices and robust flavors. On his cooking show, Big Daddy’s House,  Aaron shares his passion for big, bold flavors and family-style cooking.

Now, he has partnered with the American Spice Company on his first line of spices, McCargo’s, that will add Big Daddy-style flavor to all of your favorite meals without additional calories or fat. I’ve sampled four varieties: Signature Blend, Signature Rub, Smoked Salt and Seasoning Salt and they were just as I expected – fresh, flavorful and potent – a little will go a long way and make these a staple in your kitchen cabinet. (more…)