Spice up Healthful Cooking

Your spice cabinet can help bring dishes to life, but did you know that spice blends offer numerous health benefits as well?
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Maintaining a well-rounded spice cabinet is a great way to bring dishes to life, but did you know that spice blends may also possess serious health benefits, such as the ability to reduce inflammation?

A Penn State study found that when test subjects added six grams of a spice blend to a meal rich in fat and carbohydrates, their blood work showed reduced markers of inflammation.

The blend included basil, bay leaf, cinnamon, cumin, black pepper, coriander, oregano, ginger, parsley, red pepper, turmeric, thyme and rosemary. Experts have long known that some of these spices are linked to numerous health benefits; in Ayurvedic medicine, ginger and turmeric are reputed for anti-inflammatory properties. (Check out our top tested turmeric foods here.)

Participants ate three versions of one meal on three separate days: once with no spices, once with two grams of the spice blend, and lastly, with six grams of the blend. Blood samples from the subjects showed a reduction in inflammatory cytokines after the meal using six grams of spices.

While further testing is required to determine which spices in the blend contributed directly to the decrease in inflammatory markers, the results pose the theory that a dish high in these spices may help to offset the inflammation caused by high levels of refined carbohydrates and unhealthy fats in the meal.

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