Spice Up Your Health

Spices have antioxidant powers

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Spice up your life with some Spice Girls music. They will get you moving and grooving again, which is similar to what spices can do for your health. Spices provide antioxidants which get your heart dancing once again.

Those antioxidants affect fat absorption which in turn, reduces risks for heart disease. Lead researcher Sheila West, associate professor of biobehavioral health from Penn State, found that fat response is reduced by 30 percent when spices like turmeric and cinnamon are added to foods.

Antioxidants can be found in many foods especially fruits and vegetables - and now spices. Antioxidants help block or reduce oxidative damage that occurs in the body.

"For healthier food add a little cinnamon, paprika or garlic powder."

Usually triglyceride, a type of fat, levels increase when high-fat meals are ingested, but spices seem to slow that process down, West says. When triglyceride levels are too high, risks for heart disease increases, so adding spices might help reduce those risks, West adds.

The researchers used spices like rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, cloves, garlic powder and paprika. These spices were chosen because they have known antioxidant power.

This is important because many believe oxidative stress can increase risks for heart disease, arthritis and diabetes, West says. With a little spice in your food, antioxidant activity was increased by 13 percent thus preventing more oxidative stress and lowering other associated risks, West concludes.

The study included six men who received prepared meals on two separate occasions. Blood was drawn every 30 minutes after the meal was eaten for three hours.

The research is reported in The Journal of Nutrition.
 

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Review Date: 
August 11, 2011
Last Updated:
October 21, 2012