Excess consumption of fatty food can damage your health, but new research shows that antioxidant-rich spices may help balance out the harmful effects.
The Studies Show…
Researchers at Penn State have been conducting experiments to test the effect of antioxidants against fatty foods, according to an article in Science Daily. The head of these studies is Sheila West, one of the associate professors dealing in biobehavioral health at Penn State. When sharing about these experiments, West explained how certain types of fat could affect the body.
Normally, when you eat a high-fat meal, you end up with high levels of triglycerides, a type of fat, in your blood. If this happens too frequently, or if triglyceride levels are raised too much, your risk of heart disease is increased. We found that adding spices to a high-fat meal reduced triglyceride response by about 30 percent, compared to a similar meal with no spices added.
The experiment was spread out over 2 days and consisted of 6 overweight men as the test subjects. The team gave these otherwise healthy participants a meal with 2 tablespoons of spices added per serving and one without. Researchers drew participants’ blood in 30-minute intervals for 3 hours after each meal to see the effect of the antioxidants. They observed that adding these spices can help prevent and reduce the chances of having diabetes, cardiovascular disease and arthritis. Scientists believe that oxidative stress can be a contributing factor to chronic diseases like these. Excess amounts of spices can often irritate the digestive system, but none of the test participants felt any stomach discomfort due to the amount of spices. Because of the positive results from the study, Professor West plans to continue testing on these spices, and antioxidants in general, in order to find more health benefits.
Spices High in Antioxidants
You may not realize it, but many normal, everyday spices and herbs are high in antioxidants. Some of the most commonly known are:
- Black pepper
- Garlic powder
Several of these herbs and spices, like turmeric and cinnamon, deal specifically with preventing oxidative stress. Simply adding 2 tablespoons of a combination of any of these spices to your evening meal can help prevent your body from the negative effects of a fatty meal. One simple idea to incorporate one of these spices is to top some zesty dishes with minced fresh parsley. If you are more of a dessert person, adding mint leaves to the top of a cake would also incorporate a healthy dose of antioxidants.
Oral health benefits
Several of these spices also have incredible oral health benefits!
A specific type of basil called “Holy Basil” is well known for its antibacterial, disinfecting properties that help to destroy bacteria and germs in the mouth. Specifically, it destroys bacteria that produce cavities, gum disease, bad breath and other oral problems. Incorporating basil into your daily food regimen, when paired with consistent oral hygiene, can help prevent many of the most serious dental issues.
Clove is prominently used for dental and oral health, and it is very effective when dealing with oral pain from ulcers, toothaches or even gum pain. Simply apply a small amount of clove oil to the affected area to ease the pain.
Another antioxidant-rich spice is nutmeg, which is often used as a cure for halitosis (bad breath). Its antibacterial properties help eliminate bad breath germs and leave the mouth smelling fresh and clean. This is why nutmeg is commonly found as an ingredient in some toothpastes.
Peppermint and Parsley
Parsley and mint leaves also have the same antibacterial properties that help rid the mouth of bad breath. Peppermint has been found very effective in preventing gum disease, and keeping teeth healthy.
Thyme, which is abundantly found in cough drops, is useful in healing acute bronchitis when added to ivy or primrose syrup, according to some sources. Simply adding these spices to your daily diet can help your body stay healthy, as well as your mouth!
Do you have any ideas for creatively adding these spices into everyday meals?