Healthy Eating – Add More Spice to Your Life and Your Cooking
Conventional wisdom holds that if something tastes good, it can’t be good for you. Contrary to belief, cooking healthy while lowering fat, salt and sugar intake can be delicious besides nutritious. Start by looking in your spice rack and refrigerator.
Many of our favorite seasonings help improve our health. Spices are high in antioxidants and help protect our cells from damage. Also, spices are very low in calories and inexpensive for the small amount used in most recipes. Here are a few examples:
- Cinnamon helps control blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Add a few shakes of cinnamon to your coffee grounds prior to brewing.
- Cayenne pepper helps stimulate digestion, improve blood circulation, relieve toothache pain and reduce blood clotting. Sprinkle on mashed potatoes, pork or in tomato sauce.
- Fresh or dried peppermint leaves help spell relief for indigestion, heartburn and nausea. A sprig of fresh mint added to water adds great flavor.
- Fresh ginger helps reduce nausea and motion sickness, and decreases arthritis and bursitis symptoms. Ginger is delicious in stir fry or with chicken salad. Look for fresh ginger in the produce aisle.
- Garlic can slightly lower your cholesterol level and blood pressure, your risk of certain cancers, and may slow the development of hardening of the arteries. Add a clove of garlic to your olive oil and balsamic vinegar for a healthy salad dressing or to sautéed vegetables and your favorite marinara sauce. Roast a head of garlic and enjoy the surprisingly mellow flavor that follows. Roasted garlic with roasted tomatoes on toasted baguettes with goat cheese makes for a wonderful appetizer.
- Marjoram may fight against bacteria. Add to eggs, pasta, meat, poultry, mushroom soup or vegetables.
Start experimenting in the kitchen today. Bon Appétit!
Patricia Salzer is a registered dietician at Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.
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