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Spice It Up!




Feb 29, 12:33 am

          If your taste buds are starting to get bored of the same bland meals day after day, resist the urge to phone greasy takeout and save the extra calories. Research has shown that foods with spices and strong flavors satiate our appetites, and help us feel fuller faster, than their plain counterparts. So if you’re ready to spice things up, give your dishes a twist with these 5 flavors below and reap bonus health benefits:

Turmeric

          One of the most exciting developments in the spice world is the health benefits of curcumin, an anti-inflammatory compound found in the South Asian spice, turmeric. New evidence has shown that this compound can slow prostate tumor growth by blocking receptors used to propagate cell tissue growth. The lead study author, Dr. Karen Knudsen stated that the benefits of curcumin prove beneficial for prevention of other cancers as well, like breast cancer.
          If that isn’t enough to convince you to stir up some curry recipes, research has shown that turmeric enhances activity of brain neurons, acting as a shield against Alzheimer’s disease and keeping your mind sharp.

          How to: Try a new curry recipe or incorporate a supplement of curcumin extract (500mg-800mg) into your diet.
          If you aren’t a curry fan, mix in 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric for every 1 cup uncooked rice for a tangy twist. Add mix some turmeric with Greek yogurt and use it as a healthy dip or spread with whole wheat pita.

Cinnamon

          Cinnamon has been shown to keep arteries clear, lower blood sugar levels and lower LDL cholesterol levels. In a study done among 60 men and women with type 2 diabetes, the participants were given either 1, 3, or 6 grams of cinnamon or a placebo, in capsule form. After 40 days, blood glucose levels dropped between 18% and 29% in all three groups that received cinnamon, while no significant changes were reported in the placebo group.

          How to: Probably one of the easiest spices to incorporate into your daily meals. Add half a teaspoon of cinnamon to your coffee, hot chocolate, sliced apple or any other fruity or sweet snack.

Ginger

          The health benefits of ginger are vast: inhibition of cancer cell growth, cholesterol lowering and blood clot prevention. Also impressive is ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties, which act to boost the immune system and stimulate circulation throughout the body. People consuming ginger regularly often report many side benefits from ginger’s strong anti-inflammatory properties.

          How to: Add some sliced ginger as a side dish to any meal like sushi or chicken stir-fry. Grate fresh ginger into your salad dressing or vinaigrette. Sprinkle ground ginger on any dish that could use a pick-me-up.

Cayenne Pepper

          Cayenne pepper has been shown to lower blood pressure, increase circulation, and boost metabolism. Side-note: Administered with water during a heart attack, cayenne pepper’s blood clearing properties have saved the lives of heart attack victims by dilating the arteries and restoring blood flow to the heart, much like aspirin.

          How to: Add cayenne powder to any dish that needs a little spicing-up, like homemade chicken soup, eggs, grilled veggies, etc. For a metabolism-boost elixir: mix 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, a fresh-squeezed lemon, and some sweetener to 8oz of water.

Ginseng

          This root has been shown to boost energy levels, enhance mental and physical performance and ease the effects of anxiety. If you have trouble concentrating throughout the day, adding this root to your diet may help you to keep focus.

          How to: Ginseng tea is easy to prepare either with ginseng root slices or powder. When preparing the tea, steep 5 to 8 slices of the ginseng, or 1 teaspoon of ginseng powder per one cup of tea. Add honey to taste. Like ginger, you can also take fresh ginseng root or slices and add it to any stir-fry. Sprinkle some ginseng onto rice. Try adding a few slices of ginseng into chicken soup.

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