Spices could prevent heart disease

Adding some spice to your food can protect you from physical damage and reduce the stress that fatty foods place on your heart

You can still enjoy your favourite fatty meals without feeling too guilty if you add a bit of spice. Eating a diet rich in turmeric, cinnamon and paprika will protect your body from the effects of fatty foods.

A team from Penn State University has found that a blend of antioxidant spices can reduce the stress that high fat foods put on your heart by the build up of triglycerides that are stored in fat cells.

‘If triglyceride levels are raised too much your risk of heart disease is increased,’ says study leader Sheila West. ‘We found that adding spices to a high-fat meal reduced triglyceride response by about 30 per cent, compared to a similar meal with no spices added.’

The researchers prepared two meals that were identical except that one was laced with culinary spices. The team drew blood from the six male participants aged between 30 and 65 every 30 minutes for three hours.

When the meal contained the blend of spices, antioxidant activity in the blood was increased by 13 per cent and insulin response decreased by about 20 per cent. ‘Antioxidants, like spices, may be important in reducing oxidative stress and thus the risk of chronic disease,’ says Dr West.

Many scientists think that oxidative stress contributes to heart disease, arthritis and diabetes. The findings were reported in the current issue of the Journal of Nutrition.

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