Thursday, March 15, 2012

Add spice to live better

In case you missed it, here is an article from NPR that will help all of us to live better. I quit the my job to write a book about the health benefits of Indian food because I knew that was my calling. I am glad the pundits agree with my philosophy.

To Cut The Risk Of A High-Fat Meal, Add Spice

Research from Penn State finds heavily spiced meals — think chicken curry with lots of turmeric, or desserts rich in cinnamon and cloves — may do the heart good. 

Research from Penn State finds heavily spiced meals — think chicken curry with lots of turmeric, or desserts rich in cinnamon and cloves — may do the heart good.
No need to be stingy with spices. Research from Penn State finds heavily spiced meals — think chicken curry with lots of turmeric, or desserts rich in cinnamon and cloves — may do the heart good.
"Elevated triglycerides are a risk factor for heart disease," explains researcher Sheila West.
Her study found that a spicy meal helps cut levels of triglycerides, a type of fat, in the blood — even when the meal is rich in oily sauces and high in fat.
In fact, she documented a decrease of triglycerides by about one-third. This compares with people who ate the same meal, but prepared without spices.
"It was surprising," West told us. "I didn't expect such a large decrease."
  It's good news for those of us who love a rich curry made with lots of turmeric or bold amounts of garlic and oregano. During the study, they used a blend that included these spices, as well as paprika, rosemary and ginger.
West intends to continue with this line of research, and later this month will present the results of a second study that replicated these triglyceride findings. Next step: determine which of these spices — at what levels — may be most beneficial.
"To me, the biggest advantage [found in the study] is the lowering of triglycerides and the insulin levels [which dropped about 20 percent]," explains cardiologist Ravi Dave of he University of California, Los Angeles who has reviewed West's spice research study. He explains that keeping these levels low can lower the risk of metabolic syndrome — as well as diabetes and heart disease.
It's not clear whether these benefits of highly spiced meals lead to long-term reductions in the risk of disease. Dave says that as traditional healing methods, many of which come from Ayurvedic medicine, are evaluated using modern, scientific methods, more research is needed to nail down potential therapeutic effects
"What we have is more emerging data on the benefits of spice, so I'm excited," Dave says.
For now, Dave recommends traditional Indian spices — which he and his family use at home — such as turmeric, cumin and coriander, to jazz up food.
In the future, it's possible that spices will play an elevated role in medicine, with specific recommendations for preventing disease.

 For more memorable centerpieces, tablescapes, and recipes (including vegetarian, gluten free and vegan recipes), please check out my book, Entertaining From an Ethnic Indian Kitchen, at my website

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  1. What lovely and colorful picture and very informative too. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. I heard the program as I am a self confessed NPR addict. Thanks for sharing it here again with your audience. I have no doubt that Indian spices have great health benefits, many of which are only being "proven" now by western Scientific methods. Our grandmothers always knew :) The only perplexing thing is despite South East Asians using all these helpful spices, they genetically have higher Triglycerides. Many doctors don't know this genetic connection. A few fortunately do and focus on treatments for that specific ethnic group. One example: South Asia heart center in SFO (I don't the exact name but it's a great place I have heard for targeted treatments if one needs it).

  3. I've always been partial to spices, I always cook with lots of them as we love them here in Latin America.. and Indian spices are the best! I enjoyed all the information you shared, so thank you sweet lady. Your picture of the spices is great! Hope you come over for some tea. Lots of hugs Komali.

  4. Great idea and great reminder! Thank you for joining me at Home Sweet Home!

  5. I have been following your blog for quite some time. It is time we pass on the recipes we learnt from our mom , mother in law and grannies to our children. It is the tribute to them and a gift for our children.You cannot make punjabi kadhi without fenugreek seeds and cabbage without carrom seeds. When I saw my mom cooking, we never thought the scientific and medicinal aspect of it. But as we grow we see that Indian food is one of the best balanced meals. I have compiling recipes that I learnt at