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Spice It Up with Herbs!

spiceMany of us rely on salt and pepper as the only seasonings for our food.  When these old standards aren’t enough to please the palate, we tend to reach for butter, cheese, and fat-laden dressings to perk up a meal. However, there’s a much healthier alternative!

Using herbs and spices will not only make your food tastier, they can also herbpromote good health. Studies show that some herbs and spices have health benefits in addition to their unique flavors.  Many provide antioxidants, which may help prevent against cancer and heart disease. Keep in mind that large amounts of herbs may be needed for health benefits, but spicing up your diet can help you cut back on unhealthy additions.

cinnamonGarlic has been shown to lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure.  Herbs like cayenne pepper and ginger may aid in digestion and alleviate gastrointestinal discomfort. Cinnamon has been shown to increase blood flow in the stomach, which may help to prevent ulcers. In addition, topping meals with herbs and spices instead of the usual condiments will help cut back on salt, sugar, and fat while still keeping the flavor.

 

Here are some suggestions to incorporate herbs and spices into every meal:

Breakfast Sprinkle cinnamon on oatmeal or whole wheat toast
Lunch Vamp up soups with thyme and oregano or toss salads with

lemon pepper

Dinner Add salsa or rosemary to a baked potato
Snack Sprinkle popcorn with paprika, chili powder or garlic
Beverages Sample a variety of spiced herbal teas
Dessert Sprinkle some nutmeg onto apples or pears

 

Variety is the Spice of Life!

Revised by: Miranda Schlitt                    Reviewed By: Professor Barbara Tangel MS RD-Department of Nutritional Sciences  References:Yeager, Selene, Jennifer Haigh, and Sari Harrar. The Complete Book of Alternative Nutrition: Powerful New Ways to Use Foods, Supplements, Herbs, and Special Diets to Prevent and Cure Disease. New York: Berkley, 1998. Print.Duyff, Roberta Larson. American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. 4th ed. Boston: Oughton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012. Print.

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