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Antioxidant spices prove their fat fighting properties

Spices to fight fat...
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In traditional Indian and Chinese medicine, many herbs and spices have been treasured, not only for their flavour, but also for their positive effects on digestion and health.

Medical science, through a recent study carried out at the Pennsylvania State University, and published in the Journal of Nutrition, seems to uphold and prove this age-old knowledge. Study results have shown that adding certain spices with antioxidant properties, such as turmeric, cinnamon and black pepper, to food can help allay the negative effects of eating high-fat meals.

“Normally, when you eat a high-fat meal, you end up with high levels of triglycerides, a type of fat, in your blood,” said Sheila West, lead author of the study and associate professor of biobehavioral health at Penn State. “We found that adding spices to a high-fat meal reduced triglyceride response by about 30%, compared to a similar meal with no spices added.”

The study was carried out with 6 overweight but otherwise healthy men between the ages of 30 and 65. On two separate days, they were given two identical meals, the only difference being that one meal had two tablespoons of rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, cloves, garlic powder and paprika added. The team drew blood every 30 minutes over a 3-hour period on both days.

Blood taken following consumption of the spicy antioxidant meal showed that antioxidant activity in the blood increased by 13%, insulin response decreased by 20%, as well as a 30% reduction in triglyceride response mentioned above. The antioxidants found in the two tablespoons of spices included in the meal are equivalent to the amount of antioxidants found in 142g of red wine or 40g of dark chocolate.

So you know what you have to do if you’ve got a high-fat stew bubbling away on your stove – add a couple of tablespoons of the spices mentioned here and help reduce the down side of fatty foods. Of course, it’s better to reduce high-fat foods altogether, but if this spice news is as good as it sounds, then a Thai red beef curry or Indian chicken tikka masala might be just the ticket…

Source:
A High Antioxidant Spice Blend Attenuates Postprandial Insulin and Triglyceride Responses and Increases Some Plasma Measures of Antioxidant Activity in Healthy, Overweight Men,” Ann C. Skulas-Ray et al, The Journal of Nutrition, August 2011



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