More than just flavor enhancers, many common spices do a lot more for your health than you probably think .
In fact, a recent study showed a specific spice blend actually lowered triglycerides — a risk factor for heart disease.
The results were published in the journal Nutrition Today. Below, we’ll explore the study and its potential implications.
Researchers from Penn State wanted to investigate the role of spices on heart health. They also reviewed previous studies showing the cardiac benefits of garlic and cinnamon.
For the study, they recruited six overweight men between the ages of 30 to 65. They were randomized to receive a meal consisting of coconut chicken, cheese bread, and a dessert biscuit, with or without a high antioxidant spice blend. The spice blend contained rosemary, garlic powder, oregano, paprika, cloves, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, and ginger.
Blood samples were taken before the meal, immediately after the meal, and every half hour after the meal, until 8 samples were collected.
Compared to the control group (meal without the spice blend), the treatment group experienced a 31% reduction in triglyceride levels and a 21% decrease in insulin levels. Antioxidant status in the blood was also measured and revealed a 13% increase in antioxidant activity.1
The mechanism is not entirely clear, but it seems that the spice blend may help prevent the absorption of fats into the bloodstream.
The Penn scientists are hoping to conduct a similar experiment to determine how the spice blend affects triglyceride levels. They believe the spice blend may help to excrete fat or influence the speed at which food is delivered through the GI tract.
The application of this study is very practical: Add spices to your meals. Not only will they enhance the flavor, they can actually make your meals healthier.
In a day and age when so many meals are calorie-dense, spices can help to cut back on the harmful effects of a fattening diet. Here’s what we mean.
After a meal of excessive calories your blood is flooded with fats and sugars. Although we need these nutrients in our diet, these drastic increases in blood sugar (postprandial glycemia) and blood fats (postprandial lipemia) are destructive to your body.
Over time they may increase your risk of diabetes and even heart disease.