Friday, April 20, 2012

Heart-Healthy Spices

Keeping up a healthy diet can sometimes be difficult and can make you really crave high-cholesterol, heart attack-inducing foods. When you are going vegetable heavy and your body starts to scream for something scrumptious and satisfying, it can be easy to cave in to an unhealthy treat. It seems that so many meat dishes and sweets (like the ones you can pick up from your closes cafe or bakery) are always doused in unhealthy ingredients that won’t get you anywhere when you're trying to reach a healthy weight. Not to mention, after a long day at work it sometimes just seems easier to buy a ready-made or frozen dinner, but these are your one way ticket for a visit to someone who studied to be a cardiac sonographer.

So how can you remedy this and make sure you keep your belly happy and healthy? A great way to jazz up any meal is with a good set of spices. Once you get to know which spices work with the different vegetables and lean meats you enjoy, the less you'll be tempted to go for take-away. Restaurant meals may even start to taste a bit bland as you'll become a heart-healthy food critic.

Spice it Up

One of the most used and most versatile spices that will flavor up any dish is garlic. It lowers blood pressure and allows your body to process different minerals that it needs. Onions are another great ingredient and come from the same family as garlic. They can actually help you lose weight, as eating them raw (in salads, for example) creates heat in your body without any exercise. Both of these foods are the perfect addition to any main course dish or salad and taste delectable as they soak in all of the other flavors you add to any particular dish.

Another tasty and blood clot-preventing spice is turmeric. It is a very powerful antioxidant and has also been proven to lower blood pressure and, therefore, prevent the risk of heart attacks. It is usually used in Indian dishes such as curries and chutneys, but also works well in soup and on for barbeque marinades. An added perk is the bright yellow color turmeric infuses into the dish you are making.

For those who love something a bit spicier, cayenne peppers are the perfect ingredient for adding some spice. The capsaicin in cayenne pepper prevents blood clotting and creates blood flow and circulation that keeps your body warm to help it burn more calories. This is a potent spice, so be careful with your amounts and consult your doctor or licensed practical nurse to figure out what works best for you.

Last, but definitely not least, is ginger. This is a delectable spice that works in both savory and sweet dishes. It is great for Thai or Japanese cooking, and lends a yummy zest to cookies, cakes and granola. It is also a nice as a tea and act as a blood thinner and anti-inflammatory. Store it in your freezer for easy grating, as fresh ginger is always better than dried.


AliveRaw (2012)

Dr. Sinatra (2012)


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