Spices and herbs helps adults reduce salt intake

Teaching people how to flavor food with spices and herbs is considerably more effective at lowering salt intake than having them do it on their own, according to research presented on Wednesday at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology & Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity & Metabolism Scientific Sessions 2014.In the first phase of the study, 55 volunteers ate a low-sodium diet for four weeks. Researchers provided all foods and calorie-containing drinks. Salt is the main source of sodium in food.

In the second phase, half of the study volunteers participated in a 20-week behavioral intervention aimed at reducing their sodium intake to 1,500 mg/day by using spices and herbs. The other half reduced sodium on their own.
More than 60 percent of the participants in the study had high blood pressure, 18 percent had diabetes and they were overweight.

The researchers found:
In the first phase, sodium intake decreased from an average 3,450 mg/day to an average 1,656 mg/day.

In the second phase, sodium intake increased in both groups. But those who received the behavioral intervention consumed an average 966 mg/day of sodium less than the group that didn’t receive the intervention.

“People in the intervention group learned problem-solving strategies, use of herbs and spices in recipes, how culture influences spice choices, how to monitor diet, overcoming the barriers to making dietary changes, how to choose and order foods when eating out and how to make low-sodium intake permanent,” said Cheryl A. M. Anderson, Ph.D., M.P.H., lead author of the study and associate professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California San Diego.

Those assigned to the behavioral intervention group had cooking demonstrations and had a chance to share how they were changing traditional recipes to remove salt and include spices. The researchers didn’t emphasize specific spices, and encouraged participants to try different things to find out what they liked most.

“Salt is abundant in the food supply and the average sodium level for Americans is very high — much higher than what is recommended for healthy living,” Anderson said. “We studied the use of a behavioral intervention where people learn how to use spices and herbs and less salt in their daily lives.”

“Given the challenges of lowering salt in the American diet, we need a public health approach aimed at making it possible for consumers to
The McCormick Science Institute funded the study.

Source: Science daily

7 Spices for super health benefits!

How often do we sprinkle cinnamon powder into the porridge or add a dash of oregano to pizza to pamper our taste buds! It may come as a surprise to many that our favorite herbs and spices not only add a twist of color, flavor and taste to our breakfasts, lunches, and dinners but also pack a nutritional punch.

From keeping our heart healthy and arteries clear to easing pain and warding off cancer, spices used extensively in cooking carry infinite health benefits and contribute towards a healthy life.

spices that not only turn bland dishes into mouth watering delicacies but contribute towards a healthy life.

1. Ginger: This gnarly looking tree root is a good source of magnesium, potassium, copper and vitamin B. The underground stem gives specific flavour to food and has many medicinal uses. It works wonders in alleviating nausea, motion sickness, helps treat upset stomachs, gas and bloating, is beneficial for coping with sore throats and colds. In addition, it is good for arthritis, hinders the growth of certain cancer cells, boosts immunity and promotes sweating.

2. Garlic: Some profess to love garlic while others hate it! Whatever may be the case, there is no denying that garlic is good for you! It has antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties. Research has established that garlic improves cardiovascular health and helps the body metabolize iron. Just incorporate the spice in your daily diet whether in sauces, pizzas, roasted in veggies or finely chopped in regular meals.

3. Cinnamon: We love cinnamon, the common kitchen spice prized for its unique aroma in pie, rolls, raisin bread, stirred in coffee and sprinkled on yoghurt because it brings out the flavors of the food it is paired with. However, few know that cinnamon tames nausea and stomach ulcers, is a proven anti-inflammatory, keeps arteries healthy increases metabolic rate, helps alleviate arthritis pain, regulates blood sugar and lowers cholesterol. Moreover, it is a natural food preservative.

4. Saffron: The “golden spice” is truly a wonder herb. Prized for adding color and a unique aroma to a dish, this expensive and exotic spice is known to treat nearly 90 ailments. Saffron is a purifier and has a cooling effect. It works wonders as therapy for kidney, bladder and liver disorders. It is heart healthy, and is known to lower blood cholesterol and triglycerides. Saffron is touted as an enhancer of skin tone.

5. Turmeric: This bright orange-yellow spice has some solid gold health benefits. Turmeric paste speeds healing process of injuries and provides pain relief of arthritis. Turmeric can relieve colds, respiratory problems, improve liver function and help to digest fats quickly. Curcumin, a compound in turmeric contains anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. The spice is also being investigated for its potential benefits in Alzheimer’s disease, managing heart disease and inhibiting cancerous cell growth.

6. Chilies: Believe it or not but chilies which create sensations of heat also help trigger the body’s natural cooling system. Research has established that capsaicin, a pungent compound found in hot chilies, revs up the body’s metabolism and may help burn fat. Capsaicin may also lower risk of ulcers and shield the heart by keeping “bad” LDL cholesterol from turning into a more lethal, artery-clogging form. Moreover, chilies improve circulation, clear congestion, fight inflammation, enhance immunity, aid in weight loss and lower the risk of diabetes.

7. Cardamom: Enriched with dietary fiber, iron, magnesium, zinc, calcium, Vitamin C and potassium, cardamom flushes out toxins from the body, perks up kidney, bladder and digestive function as well as circulation. Commonly known as choti elaichi, this spice alleviates gas and symptoms of asthma, stimulates appetite, aid acid reflux while the fragrant seeds rectify foul breath.

source: the med guru