Two Spices Found to Fight Negative Effects of High-Fat Foods
Many spices are powerful antioxidants that continue to gain acceptance as natural nutrients able to assist human health and prevent chronic disease.
Researchers from Penn State publishing in The Journal of Nutrition provide strong evidence that two such spices — turmeric, from which curcumin is derived, and cinnamon — provide a protective shield to reduce the body’s negative responses to eating high-fat meals. A diet filled with high-fat foods that have been fried or baked with trans fats increases oxidized LDL cholesterol levels and dangerous blood fats known as triglycerides. Turmeric and cinnamon taken before a high fat meal combine to lower triglyceride response by as much as 30%, preventing a cascade of harmful metabolic events that lead to heart disease and diabetes.
Tumeric and Cinnamon Mixture Halts Dangerous Insulin Spikes and Triglycerides
Culinary spices have peaked interest among nutritional scientists in recent years as both turmeric and cinnamon exhibit powerful antioxidant properties that may halt dangerous metabolic imbalances prompted by poor dietary choices. To conduct the study, researchers added 14 grams of a combined turmeric-cinnamon spice blend to a 1,200 calorie high-fat meal, and compared the results to a control group not receiving the spice mixture.
Blood samples were taken prior to the meal and then again at 30 minute intervals for the next three and a half hours after eating. Participants were tested again one week later, and the two groups were switched to verify the accuracy of the results. Researchers found that blood levels of insulin were reduced by 21% and triglycerides dropped 31% in response to the turmeric-cinnamon mix.
Spices Work Synergistically to Improve Metabolic Markers and Disease Risk
The study authors found that the spices significantly improved two critical metabolic markers that are associated with increased risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disorders. They commented,“Adding spices to the meal significantly increased the ferric reducing antioxidant power, such that postprandial increases following the spiced meal were 2-fold greater than after the control meal.” They also found that the two spices interact synergistically and the impact was significantly greater when both spices were administered concurrently, compared to individual results.
Most health-conscious adults can benefit from a wide array of natural spices added to and consumed with many popular foods, regardless of specific dietary approach. Penn State authors concluded, “The incorporation of spices into the diet may help normalize postprandial insulin and TG (triglyceride) and enhance antioxidant defenses.” Include turmeric and cinnamon to your favorite meals, or take a high quality supplement with meals to maximize your defense against metabolic dysfunction and heart disease.
John Phillip is a diet, health and nutrition researcher and writer with a passion for understanding weight loss challenges and encouraging health modification through natural diet, lifestyle and targeted supplementation. John’s passion is to research and write about the cutting edge alternative health technologies that affect our lives.
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Article updated on: April 1st, 2013