Spice up your life in a healthy way. Did you know that many spices are loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds? Adding certain spices to your meals can not only kick it up a notch with flavor, but can also help the heart. Here are some heart healthy spices for you to consider the next time you are meal prepping:
Cayenne pepper. This heart healthy spice is frequently used in treating circulatory conditions and improving blood flow. The capsaicin boosts the body’s metabolic furnace, helping burn calories. It can even kill cancer cells, help in weight loss and detox. The heat of the spice can also induce you to eat less and crave less fatty, salty foods.
Cinnamon. This super power spice can actually reduce the risk for diabetes and heart disease. It’s also known for its ability to improve blood sugar levels in the pancreas. It also has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-cancer properties.
Oregano. This natural antibiotic can help prevent infection-related heart disease. It’s also known for reducing cholesterol and improving the respiratory system function which is closely related to the cardiovascular system. It’s loaded with antioxidants and Vitamin K.
Ginger. This super spice shares a lot of similarities as turmeric. The key benefits are anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and digestion improving properties. It can also lower cholesterol and improve circulation.
Rosemary. The antioxidants carnosic acid, carnosol and rosmarinic acid help improve mental well-being and memory. Since the brain controls the heart function, adding rosemary to your dishes can also result in better cardiac muscle function.
Turmeric. This is one of the most powerful heart healthy spices, thanks to curcumin, a powerful antioxidant. Turmeric is used in a lot of curry seasoning mixtures and curcumin has anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, liver protecting as well as cholesterol lowering and cardiovascular system improving characteristics. Turmeric can keep homocysteine levels in check and improve liver capability to clear out excess LDL cholesterol thereby reducing the risk of heart disease. Turmeric is the main spice in curry.
Tips for cooking with healthy with spices:
- Grinding fresh herbs with a mortar and pestle makes for the fullest flavor.
- To add a little more flavor or “bite” to your dishes, add some fresh hot peppers. Remove the membrane and seeds first, then finely chop them up. A small amount goes a long way.
- Mushrooms, tomatoes, chili peppers, cherries, cranberries and currants have a more intense flavor when dried than when fresh. Add them when you want a burst of flavor.
- Vinegar or citrus juice are incredible flavor enhancers – but add them at the last moment. Vinegar is great on vegetables, such as greens; and citrus works well on fruits, such as melons.
- Dried herbs such as thyme, rosemary and marjoram can add a more pungent flavor to any dish. Just remember, a little pinch goes a long way.
For more information about heart health and ways to stay heart healthy visit HonorHealth.com/cardiac