As fall moves into full swing, I always love to break out a variety of spices to get my meals into the spirit of the season. The holiday season brings with it a number of tastes and aromas, from allspice to cinnamon and cloves, that transform even the most mundane foods. While many think of fall food as full of temptation, the spices of the season can be used to make healthy food tasty as well. Here are few tips you can use to transform your health while also doing your taste buds a favor.
Make the Blandest Food Burst With Flavor
While there are some fats that are good for us, it’s generally a good idea to try and cut fat out of your diet. The problem? Low-fat foods can sometimes taste pretty plain, making the switch unappealing for some. Thankfully, spices can save the day. Research has found that adding spices to fat-free foods can make them just as palatable as their regular full-fat counterparts. Try this delicious low-fat carrot, ginger and turmeric soup. Be careful, though. Prepackaged items labeled as “low-fat” or “fat-free” sometimes just replace the fat with sugar for taste. Check the label to make sure your foods aren’t packed with sugar instead of fat.
Replace the Sodium With Something More Exciting
We all love salt, but the fact is there’s too much of it in our diet. The thing is, we add salt to add flavor to our food and without it sometimes flavor just doesn’t pop in the same way. Spices are a great way around this. My no-salt spice mix is a great blend of spices that will give your favorite dish flavor like you’ve never tasted while keeping out that troublesome salt.
Boost Your Metabolism and Feel Fuller
Spices can also help you turn up the heat on your metabolism as well as your meal. Try adding some ginger or mustard to boost your metabolism without adding too much heat. For those with a tougher tongue, hot peppers can add a serious kick to the taste of your food and your metabolic rate. This spicy sunflower seed recipe is a great snack and can be adapted using roasted leftover pumpkin seeds from your jack-o’-lantern.
Put a Damper on Your Diabetes
The fall favorite cinnamon may help to reduce blood sugar. It’s thought to do this this through two mechanisms. First, cinnamon appears to slow the passage of food from the stomach into the intestine where sugars are absorbed, which slows down the overall absorption of sugar. The second way is that cinnamon may block some of the enzymes that break down sugars in the intestine, decreasing sugar absorption. It won’t replace your medications, but it might help bring your blood sugar down a little more. What’s great about cinnamon is that you can add it to pretty much any food.
Help Out Your Heart
Meat can star prominently in many holiday meals. Often, gravy is added to flavor the meat, but spices may actually be the way to go for a tastier protein. One study found that when antioxidant spices like rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, cloves, garlic powder and paprika were added to a high-fat meal, there were more antioxidants in the blood and less of an insulin spike after eating. Lower insulin decreases your risk of diabetes while having antioxidants lowers your risk of diseases like heart disease and arthritis.
This time of the year can be time when many give up on eating healthy because they just can’t recreate the flavors they used to love with their new diet. But replacing old flavors with some of the new ones I’ve mentioned can keep you on track while giving your food an entirely new and delicious taste.