New Year, Younger You -- 20 Anti-Aging Herbs and Spices to Add to Your Diet
January 08, 2009
The typical American diet that is high in simple carbohydrates--white flour, white salt, and processed food--is aging us. We are getting all the bulk without the nutrients, plus adding to our propensity for developing real food cravings. So whether you are a vegetarian or an omnivore, you can start to reverse aging by simply choosing to eat the right foods to keep you full of vim, vigor, and vitality, especially over the holidays.
The easiest way to make sure you are getting more nutrients into every meal.
Every time you flavor your meals with herbs or spices you are literally "upgrading" your food without adding a single calorie. You are taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary by adding color, flavor, vitamins, and often medicinal properties.
* Spices and herbs maximize nutrient density. Herbs and spices contain antioxidants, minerals and multivitamins. At the cocktail party, choose the Thai chicken satay stick over the tried and true fried chicken strip.
* Spices and herbs create a more thermogenic diet. Because spices are nutrient dense, they are thermogenic, which means they naturally increase your metabolism.
* Some spices and herbs increase your overall feeling of fullness and satiety, so you'll eat less. One study conducted at Maanstricht University in the Netherlands showed that when one consumes an appetizer with half a teaspoon of red pepper flakes before each meal, it decreased their calorie intake by 10-16 percent.
* Spices and herbs have real medicinal properties. Study after study shows the benefits of distinct herbs and spices. For example, one 2003 trial of 60 people with type 2 diabetes reported that consuming as little as two teaspoons of cinnamon daily for six weeks reduced blood-glucose levels significantly. It also improved blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels, perhaps because insulin plays a key role in regulating fats in your body.
Choose flavor over blandness every time, and try to incorporate these specific herbs and spices into your diet if you have the following health concerns:
- rosemary and basil for their anti-inflammatory power
- cumin and sage for their dementia-fighting power
- cayenne and cinnamon for their obesity-fighting power
- coriander and cinnamon for their sugar regulating powers
- lemon grass, nutmeg, bay leaves and saffron for their calming effects on your mood
- turmeric for its cancer fighting power
- oregano for its fungus-beating power
- garlic, mustard seed and chicory for their heart-pumping power
- basil and thyme for their skin-saving power
- turmeric, basil, cinnamon, thyme, saffron, and ginger for their immune-boosting power
- coriander, rosemary, cayenne, allspice and black pepper for their depression-busting power