Monday, August 9, 2010

Myth: Spices don’t really contribute to good health.

Answer: Busted!

The other day this headline caught my eye, “U.S. is a spicier nation since 1970’s” and I say, Amen! Maybe not for the reasons you think. You may have read that spices such as cinnamon and turmeric contain antioxidants like polyphenols which may have anticancer and antiflammatory effects. In other words – they may help tamp down the inflammation associated with chronic diseases like diabetes and cancer. Studies are still not definitive.

So why do I applaud the headline? Herbs and spices are a welcome substitution for too much salt in our food. When stir frying batches of vegetables that I freeze for future use, I use curry, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves and other spices. I don’t miss the salt. In fact, when I do find myself eating processed, fast/restaurant or canned food, I don’t enjoy the salty food.

What spices do you use? Let’s celebrate our spicier nation! To learn more, refer to the MU Extension publication Herbs and spices.

Contributor: Ellen Schuster, M.S., R.D., Associate State Specialist,, 573-882-1933

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