Spice up fatty food

Spices have been added to foods for millennia across all cultures and for a range of reasons. They do add flavour but they are also preservative and help kill off harmful organisms. As we do more and more research into individual spices we are finding an array of additional health benefits besides. Now a new study has found that a combination of spices can reduce the negative response of your body to a fatty meal.

When you eat a fatty meal you usually end up with high levels of a type of fat called triglycerides in your blood. If this happens regularly and your triglyceride levels become too high then your risk of heart disease is increased.

To test the effect of spices on this response to fatty food researchers prepared meals on two separate days for their test subjects. The meal was a chicken curry with Italian herb bread and followed by cinnamon biscuits. It might not sound like the most synchronous combination of foods but it allowed them to test a range of spices.

On one occasion the men were given the meal without spices but on the other occasion they had two tablespoons of spices added to the meal. The spices included rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, cloves, garlic, and paprika. These spices were chosen as they all have proven antioxidant qualities.

Blood tests showed that after the meals with the spices added antioxidant activity in the blood increased by thirteen per cent, insulin response decreased by 20 per cent, and triglyceride response decreased by 30 per cent.

The researchers did admit that two tablespoons of spice was a lot to add to a meal but the effect was noticeable and they will do further tests to see how much spice is required to achieve the results. In the meantime the moral is clear: spice it up a little and your heart will be the better for it.

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The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

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