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Spice It Up For A Healthy Heart

UNIVERSITY PARK, Penn. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- When you’re hungry it’s easy to grab and go, but bite into a burger and fries too often, and you could be fast tracking heart disease, diabetes and other life altering and life ending health problems. Now, nutrition scientists at Pennsylvania State University say that adding spices to a meal could help balance out the harmful effects of fatty foods.

“We learned that there are clear benefits to adding spices to your meal even if you’re only adding them occasionally,” Ann Skulas-Ray, Ph.D., a fellow at Pennsylvania State University told Ivanhoe.

After a high-fat meal, a type of fat in the blood called triglycerides will rise, adding increased risk for heart disease. Researchers found that adding spices like turmeric, oregano, cinnamon, cloves and paprika, reduced triglycerides in the blood by 30 percent.

“We added 14 grams of spices to the meal, which is about two tablespoons, and it was a mixture of popular spices,” Sheila West, Ph.D., a cardiovascular nutrition researcher at Pennsylvania State University told Ivanhoe.

Researchers believe spices have naturally-occurring antioxidants – like the ones found in red wine or blueberries. These antioxidants may help prevent some of the harmful effects of eating fat and this could protect against artery damage and heart disease.

“Some of the highest antioxidant spices are spices that have a very pungent flavor or bright color,” Dr. Skulas-Ray said.

Over time adding a little spice to your diet, could help reduce your triglyceride level long term decreasing your heart disease risk.

"Most people flavor their food with salt, which we know has a lot of negative impact for cardiovascular risk. If people are adding spices to their meals instead they would achieve some of these benefits,” Dr. Skulas-Ray concluded.

Spicing up your life, for healthy living.

Researchers now want to investigate whether adding smaller doses of spices to meals will produce the same results.

Click here to Go Inside This Science and View Video or contact:

Ann C. Skulas-Ray, PhD
Biobehavioral Health Scientist
Penn State Nutrition
Penn State University

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Prior Reports
DBIS was a joint production of Ivanhoe Broadcast News and the American Institute of Physics from January 2005 - December 2011.
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