Herbs and Spice and Everything Nice

Common herbs and spices may help protect against certain chronic conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.

Herbs, including basil and parsley, are from plants and plant parts. Spices, such as turmeric, chili powder, and paprika, often come from the seeds, berries, bark, or roots of plants. Seasonings, such as cinnamon (our favorite), often lead lists of commonly eaten foods with the highest levels of measured antioxidant activity. And don’t forget about the zest of lemons, limes, and oranges.

There are a number of  studies that show that many different herbs and spices offer health benefits.  Herbs and spices that top the list include cinnamon, chili peppers, turmeric, garlic, oregano, basil, thyme, and rosemary. A plant compound called polyphenols provides one of the main health benefits associated with herbs and spices. Likewise, polyphenols are also found in fruits, vegetables, green tea, and red wine. More power to the plant!

One of the main functions of herbs and spices is that they act like anti-inflammatory agents in the body. Turmeric, a spice commonly used in Indian cuisine, has been shown to have anti-cancer properties. Cinnamon has the ability to lower blood sugar levels, helping people with diabetes and pre-diabetes better manage their conditions.

COOKING WITH HERBS AND SPICES

When people think of healthy cooking, they often think of bland, plain, steamed food, and unfortunately turn away from it. This doesn’t have to be, nor should be the case. Cooking with herbs and spices allows you to decrease the fat, salt, and sugar in a dish without sacrificing flavor. By learning how to incorporate fresh and dried herbs, spices, and seasonings into your recipes, not only will your food be good for you, but it will taste absolutely delicious!

Chili Spiced Corn

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 1 ear of corn

Calories per serving: 158

Fat per serving: 3.4 (g)

Carbs per serving: 32 (g)

Protein per serving: 4.5 (g)

Boost your metabolism with the capsicum in ground chili peppers.

Ingredients

  • 4 ears freshly-picked corn
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. spicy paprika
  • olive oil

Instructions

  1. Remove husks and silks from corn and run ears under cold water to rinse. Pat dry.
  2. Blend the chili powder and paprika in a small bowl. Rub each ear of corn with olive oil and then sprinkle liberally with chili powder. Wrap each ear of corn in a sheet of aluminum foil.
  3. Cook on the bar-b-que for 7-8 minutes (rotating every 2 minutes to prevent burning); alternately cook them in the oven on 400F for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the foil and enjoy!
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SIMPLE WAYS TO USE SPICES

Ground cinnamon:

  • Add 1.25 teaspoons to prepared oatmeal; 1 cup Greek yogurt mixed with 1 tsp. agave or honey and1 cup berries; add to pancake or French toast batter.
  • Sprinkle half a teaspoon of cinnamon over ground coffee before brewing.
  • Top your morning fat-free latte with ground cinnamon.

Turmeric:

  • Sprinkle on egg salad, tuna salad, or chicken salad. Add to your crab cakes or salmon patties for an Indian twist.
  • Mix half a teaspoon turmeric with 1 cup Greek yogurt and use as a dip or sandwich spread.
  • Add to chicken or seafood casseroles and to water when cooking rice

Cilantro:

  • Make our amazing tortilla soup
  • Stir it into homemade salsa and guacamole.
  • Substitute for basil in pesto sauce
  • Finely mince and add to nonfat plain Greek yogurt for a cool and refreshing dip or sandwich spread.

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