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.
Professor West and her colleagues prepared test meals of chicken curry, Italian herb bread, and a cinnamon biscuit on two separate days. The subjects included six men between the ages of 30 and 65 who were overweight, but otherwise healthy.
The spiced meal included rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, cloves, garlic powder and paprika.
“We selected these spices because they had potent antioxidant activity previously under controlled conditions in the lab,” researcher Ann Skulas-Ray told the Daily Mail.
While some health experts have expressed concern that the addition of spice to these meals could cause gastrointestinal problems, Skulas-Ray said that adding up to two tablespoons of spices to meals did not cause the participants any stomach upset.
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