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Think Spice: 8 Spices with Health Benefits
If you've ever tried chia seed pudding, you know that superfood doesn't always equal superdelicious. Before you buy another bag of something that looks as if it belongs in a bird feeder, consider this: Just a pinch of oregano can turn even grilled cheese into a disease-fighting dish. "Technically, spices are vegetables in concentrated form," says Wendy Bazilian, RD, the nutrition adviser for the Golden Door Spa & Fitness Resort in Escondido, California. "Like veggies, they contain thousands of healthy phytonutrient compounds, including antioxidants." But spices are calorie-free and require no prep. Pop the tops on these eight pronto.
While grilling and sautéing require little to no added fat, cooking at high temps produces compounds called heterocyclic amines, which are harmful free radicals that may cause cancer, explains Hannah El-Amin, RD, a dietitian at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. Luckily, marinating meat in a mixture made with rosemary before firing it up prevents the formation of heterocyclic amines by as much as 84 percent, a study at Kansas State University found.
How to Use It
- Combine two tablespoons of olive oil; one-half cup of lemon juice; half a garlic clove, minced; and one tablespoon of rosemary to make a marinade for chicken or steak.
- Mix together equal parts rosemary, thyme, and oregano, and rub the mixture directly onto chicken breasts, suggests Limor Baum, a registered dietitian in New York City.
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