We all know we should eat meals that are lower in fat. But it’s hard. Wouldn’t it be great if we could still eat a high-fat meal and reduce some of the negative impact? Well, a new study says popular spices can do just that.
Researchers from Penn State University wanted to see if spices could protect the body from a meal filled with trans fats. Trans fats increase oxidized LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. And they cause a huge spike in your insulin levels, which can lead to metabolic resistance and diabetes. All of these significantly increase your risk for a heart attack.
So the researchers divided volunteers into two separate groups. They gave both groups a 1,200-calorie, high-fat meal. Then Sheila West, associate professor of biobehavioral health at Penn State, and her team gave one group two tablespoons of a spice mixture. The mixture contained rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, cloves, garlic powder and paprika. They chose these spices “because they had potent antioxidant activity previously under controlled conditions in the lab.” The control group did not take the spices.
To measure the participants’ response to the meal, they took blood samples prior to the meal. Then they took more samples at 30-minute intervals for the next three-and-a-half hours after the meal. They also tested the participants again one week later.
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The results were startling. The spice combination lowered the first group’s insulin response by 21% percent. More astounding was that it lowered their triglyceride response by 31%. To verify the accuracy of the results, the researchers switched the two groups and conducted the study again.
The researchers also tested the spices individually and found that you have to take the spices together to see these results. The spices interact synergistically and give significantly greater results than when you take them separately.
We’ve known for some time that cinnamon is a great spice for diabetics. But you have to eat a lot of it to have the desired results. This study reveals a way to boost the power of cinnamon to lower your insulin and triglyceride levels.
These spices are a great addition to your meals. Many supplements have these spices as well. If you don’t like your food bland, this may be the way to go. The key is to take enough to see results. Two tablespoons worth of spices is a lot. So add as much as you can to each meal and then find supplements that can boost your intake.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.