Healthy Tips

This Simple Addition to Meat May Help Decrease Damage When you Cook It

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Cooking meat with an antioxidant-rich spice mix could reduce compounds that have been linked to heart disease and cancer.

Food Navigator reports that:

“Using aF spice mix similar to that used in the East Indian spice blend, researchers … report that hamburgers were subsequently found to contain significantly lower levels of lipid-peroxidation products, claimed to produce off-flavors and linked to promotion of the processes of atherogenesis and carcinogenesis.”

The study that produced this result was funded by spices and seasonings company McCormick and Company, and involved 11 healthy volunteers.

The participants consumed either burgers seasoned with a spice blend or a plain burger. The amount of malondialdehyde (MDA) in the burger, as well as in the urine and blood of the participants, were used to measure lipid oxidation.

MDA was reduced by 71 percent in the spiced burger, resulting in a 49 percent reduction in urine levels of MDA.

Food Navigator April 14, 2010
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition April 8, 2010

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Anti-Aging Herbs and Spices


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The typical American diet that is high in simple carbohydrateswhite 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.

Here’s why:

* 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

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Sources: The Huffington Post December 20, 2008

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Herbs & Plants Herbs & Plants (Spices)


Botanical Name:Vanulla planifolia

Family: Orchidaceae

Subfamily: Vanilloideae

Tribe: Vanilleae
Subtribe: Vanillinae

Genus: Vanilla

Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Asparagales

Habitat :Central America, West Indies, Northern South America
Mostly Cultivated In:Madagascar, Comoros Islands, Reunion, French Polynesia, Tahiti, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mozambique, Seychelles, Uganda, Guatemala, Mexico.
For many people in countries where quality ice cream is readily available, vanilla is the most popular of the non-pungent spices. It has been regarded as one of the most expensive spices along with saffron, cardamon and green peppercorns. The cost of vanilla reflects its historic importance as a flavor used in the royal drinks of the Mayans and Aztecs that were based on chocolate. The Aztecs called vanilla tlilxochitl, and they used it with chile peppers to flavor their drink.

click to see the pictures…>..(1).…(2).…(3)......(4).…..(5)….

Vanilla is found in the seeds of the orchid vine, Vanilla planifolia (V. fragrans), which is native to Mexico. The Spaniards likened the bean pods to a little sheath or vaina, which is derived from the similar Latin word, vagina! Obtaining the flavor can be a several month long process, resulting from slowly fermenting the beans, which contain many small seeds; the ground-up bean is then used in similar fashion to coffee. People who enjoy the strong vanilla taste want to use freshly cured bean, while others accept the commercial extract. True vanilla in ice cream contains tiny dark flecks resulting from the presence of the seeds. However, the vanilla flavor, which is mainly due to vanillin, can be readily chemically synthesized from eugenol or guaiacol, or from lignin derived from tar, wood, or tonka beans. This product lacks the quality of the natural vanilla flavor that develops during the curing of the best beans when glucosides are converted to vanillic aldehyde, which is vanillin, since other aromatic chemicals are also produced.

Vanilla trees are grown in Mexico, Central America (Guatemala and especially Costa Rica), and in some Caribbean islands (especially Jamaica). However, it is difficult to grow since it is only pollinated by native bees and hummingbirds. It requires artificial fertilization outside its natural habitat, but it can be cultivated through the use of cuttings. Following its introduction to the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean, a method of hand pollination was introduced in 1841. Reunion is still an important site of vanilla production; the variety is called Bourbon vanilla, after the former name of the island. Madagascar is now the major producer of Bourbon vanilla.

When vanilla became popular in 17th century Europe, it was used for many indications, varying from stomach ulcers to sedation. As was the case with many spices, it was extolled as an aphrodisiac. Today, it may fulfill its latter function when used in high quality baked goods, confectionary and desserts, although most users regard it more prosaically as a delicious flavor that may help digestion. Vanilla is used to flavor tobacco and as a fragrance in the cosmetic industry. It is of interest that sensitive workers in the vanilla industry may develop vanillism, resulting in headaches and skin rashes.

Artificial vanilla (containing vanillin and ethylvanillin) is acceptable to most tastes, and therefore the export of true vanilla may continue to decline, since the culture and manufacture of the quality product is expensive and relatively non-competitive. Moreover, its value as an exotic medicine is no longer accepted. Thus the role of the vanilla bean has declined in significance, with over 95% of the world’s supply of vanilla flavor being synthetic.
Useful Parts:
The cured, dried fruits of the plant impart the flavor.
Medicinal Properties:
Vanillin is in the class of vanilloids, that includes – surprisingly – capsaicin (8-methy-N-vanillyl noneamide) from chile pepper and eugenol from cloves, cinnamon and other spices, and zingerone from ginger. The vanilloid receptors of the central and peripheral nervous systems bind with these compounds, resulting in different sensory effects. Thus, capsaicin can cause a burning sensation while eugenol results in mild anesthesia; vanillin itself is neutral.

Historical View :
“Vanilla is an aromatic stimulant, with a tendency towards the nervous system. It has also been regarded as an aphrodisiac. It has been employed as a remedy in hysteria, low fevers, impotency, etc. But its use as a medicine is obsolete in this country, although still sometimes employed on the Continent and elsewhere.”

You may click to see :Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia Andrews)

Source:Medicinal Spices