“If the spices are right for you, they might be a way to make high-fat or high-carbohydrate foods healthier,” said Connie Rogers, associate professor of nutrition. “We cannot say from this study if it is one particular spice, but this particular mixture seems to be beneficial.”
The researchers used a mixture of basil, bay leaf, black pepper, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, ginger, oregano, parsley, red pepper, rosemary, thyme and turmeric for the study, which was recently published in the Journal of Nutrition.
According to Rogers, previous research has linked a variety of different herbs, such as ginger and turmeric, with anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, chronic inflammation has previously been linked to poor health outcomes such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and overweight and obesity, which affects about 72 percent of the U.S. population.
In recent years, researchers have found that inflammation can increase after a person eats foods high in fat or sugar. While it’s not clear whether this short burst of so-called acute inflammation can cause chronic inflammation, Rogers says they are suspected of playing a factor, especially in people who are overweight or obese.
“In the end the gold standard is to make people eat healthier and lose weight and exercise, but changing behavior is difficult and requires time,” Rogers said. “So for the time being, we want to explore whether the combination of spices that people already know and can fit in one meal can have a positive effect.”
For the study, the researchers recruited 12 men aged between 40 and 65, overweight or obese, and at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Rogers said the sample was chosen because people in this demographic tended to have a higher risk of developing worse health outcomes.
Randomly, each participant ate three versions of a diet high in saturated fat and carbohydrates on three separate days: one without seasoning, one with two grams of spice mixture, and one with six grams of spice mixture. The researchers took blood samples before and after each hour every four hours to measure inflammation markers.
“In addition, we breed white blood cells and stimulate them to make cells respond to inflammatory stimuli, similar to what will happen when your body fights infection,” Rogers said. “We think it’s important because it represents what will happen in the body. Cells will face pathogens and produce inflammatory cytokines.”
After analyzing the data, the researchers found that inflammatory cytokines were reduced after eating containing six grams of spice compared to foods containing two grams of spice or without herbs. Rogers said six grams roughly means between one teaspoon to one tablespoon, depending on how the spice is dehydrated.
While researchers can’t be sure which spices or herbs contribute to the effect or the exact mechanism in which the effect is made, Rogers said the results show that the spice has anti-inflammatory properties that help offset the inflammation caused by its height. carbohydrates and high-fat foods.
In addition, Rogers said that the second study using the same subject, conducted by Penn State researchers Penny Kris-Etherton and Kristina Petersen, found that six grams of spice resulted in a smaller post-meal reduction from “widening mediated flow” in the blood . Vessel – a measure of blood vessel flexibility and a marker of blood vessel health.
In the future, Rogers said that he, Kris-Etherton and Petersen will work on further studies to determine the effects of spices in the diet over a longer period and in a more diverse population.
(With input from IANS)