Herbs & Spices for Heart Health

Flavorful additions that accent vegetables, fish, and meats, herbs and spices may also help improve blood biomarkers related to heart health.  Sheila G. West, PhD, from The Pennsylvania State University (Pennsylvania, USA), and colleagues prepared meals for six men, ages 30 to 65 years, who were overweight but otherwise healthy. The meals, consumed on two separate days, were identical – chicken, bread, and a dessert item – but the test meal also included the addition of two tablespoons of a high-antioxidant spice blend.  The spices included garlic powder, rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, cloves, paprika, turmeric, ginger, and black pepper.  The team monitored blood markers for three hours after each meal.   Antioxidant activity in the blood rose 13% after the subjects ate the test meal (with spices); as well, postprandial insulin decreased by 21% and triglycerides by 31%, post test-meal.  The study authors report that: “Spices and herbs are rich in compounds that may reduce inflammation and improve blood factors associated with increased [cardiovascular disease] risk.”

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