Tweak a Week #6 - Spices

Well here we are...Week #6! How's it going so far? As always, I'd love to hear from you. Please drop me a note with your questions, comments and of course, RECIPES! On to Tweak a Week #6...

SPICES! The key to enjoying healthy eating is learning to cook whole foods in a way that is flavorful and enjoyable. Spices are the key to this happening. Using herbs and spices bring life to what may otherwise be a dull or flavorless dish. But herbs and spices are not only wonderful flavor enhancers; they are literally forms of food as medicine. They pack a powerful nutritional punch and truly spice up an otherwise boring meal.

Herbs are seasonings from green leafy plants such as rosemary, sage, parsley, cilantro, etc. Spices are seasonings from aromatic plants; rather than the leaf being used it is most often the root, seed, fruit, or some other part, such as ginger, cinnamon, or turmeric.

The antioxidant power of these herbs and spices are due to their concentration of phytonutrients including flavonoids such as quercetin, apigenin, luteolin, kaempferol, and orientin. Much of this antioxidant power comes from there oil phytonutrients which contribute to their aromatic qualities.

It has also been found that herbs and spices seem to work in a unique synergistic way with other herbs and spices and foods to create amazing health benefits. For example when curcumin (found in turmeric) is combined with cruciferous vegetables there were significant protection from cancerous tumors, however this did not happen with either substance alone. Turmeric is also more effective when combined with black pepper.

TURMERIC (Curcumin) – may be the “healthiest” spice on earth! Turmeric is actually a member of the ginger family and the healing properties are in its stalk.

Turmeric is most commonly extoled for its anti-inflammatory properties, due to the curcuminoid compounds, the most important of which is curcumin. It is commonly used to fight inflammatory issues or diseases such as arthritis and joint or muscle pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. It has been shown to have an antitumor effect and a positive effect on cholesterol, heart health, and is a great antioxidant. There has even been evidence to support the curcuminoid phytonutrients helpful in treatment or prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.

Turmeric is full of fiber, Vitamin B6, potassium, iron and manganese.

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