Some dieters are terrified of anything that goes on TOP of food. To them, it’s all just extra calories. But some of those calories are actually loaded with benefits. Spices, herbs and spreads can curb your appetite, ease digestion, promote brain function, AND fight heart disease and cancer, often with very few calories or carbs to be concerned about. So go ahead—spread, sprinkle or dash on some of these condiments that cure.
Benefit: Lowers risk of cardiovascular disease
Dose: 3-4 tablespoons daily
Ketchup contains the antioxidant Lycopene which can hinder the development of atherosclerosis. Which kind of ketchup contains up to 60% more of this antioxidant? Organic! What a surprise… Organic versions also offer more of Vitamins A, C and E.
Tasty Tips: stir dark-hued ketchup with equal parts reduced-fat mayo for a Russian style dressing, or mix with herbs and chopped garlic to create a marinade.
Benefit: Fights aging
Dose:2-4 tablespoons daily
Dark honey contains antioxidants which can protect your body against free radicals, the nasty things that can lead to heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline and macular degeneration.
Tasty Tips: Add a teaspoon to your oatmeal, yogurt or tea instead of refined sugar.
Benefit: Eliminates food-born cancer-causing carcinogens
Dose:1-2 Tablespoons daily
One study found that seasoning beef with rosemary before cooking can eliminate 30% to 100% of cancer-causing substances called heterocyclic amines. This stubborn stuff forms on carb-heavy foods cooked at 250 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Beef lover? Then maybe Rosemary is your healing herb of choice.
Tasty Tips: Add 1 to 2 tablespoons per 1 pound of steak, pork or lamb. Brush Rosemary with Olive Oil over chicken before cooking.
Dose: ¼ teaspoon daily
A compound found in the roots of the Horseradish plant called Glucosinolates can enhance your liver’s ability to detox and flush out carcinogens as well as suppress preexisting tumors in the body.
Tasty Tips: Make your own cocktail sauce by mixing the stuff with some ketchup. Combine 3 tablespoons of Horseradish with ½ a cup of Greek yogurt, ½ cup chopped dill and ½ teaspoon of sea salt to make a dip.
Benefit: Boosts your memory
Dose: 2-3 Tablespoons daily
Olive oil is rich in an Omega-9 fatty acid that, after converted into the hormone oleoylethanolamide (OEA) during digestion, helps keep brain cells healthy. Researchers believe OEA stimulates the part of the brain that turns short-term memories into long-term ones.
Tasty Tips: Mix with balsamic vinegar, lemon and a little bit of water for a salad dressing. Drizzle over grilled veggies or whole grain toast
Benefit: Stabilizes blood sugar
Dose:1 Teaspoon Daily
Adding between half to a whole teaspoon of cinnamon to a sweet dish can reduce the rate at which your blood sugar rises. This is because the spice increases insulin sensitivity, putting your insulin to work and allowing you to use more of the glucose in your blood. What does this mean? Less sugar highs and lows and for Diabetics, potentially less insulin.
Tasty Tips: Sprinkle on carb-heavy dishes like cake or rice. For a Mediterranean flavor, mix with cumin, dried fruit, coriander, caraway and chopped nuts.
Benefit: Curbs Appetite
Dose: A few dashes a day
The chili peppers in hot sauce contain capsaicin, which can reduce levels of hunger-causing grhelin and raises levels of the appetite-suppressing hormone, GLP-1.
Tasty Tips: Toss on tacos (obviously), rice or a favorite soup. Hot sauce tastes surprisingly good with grapefruit too.
Benefit: Eases digestion
Dose: ½ cup daily
Full of probiotic bacteria, Sauerkraut can relieve the discomfort associated with irritable bowl syndrome, like gas and stomach distension.
Tasty Tips: Use as a relish on your favorite meats or hot dogs. Include in a veggie stir-fry or a salad.
Benefit: Protects against Cancer
Dose: As much as you want
A compound found in black pepper called Piperine might inhibit the self-renewing process of cancer-initiating stem cells.
Tasty Tips: You can add this to just about any dish—pasta, meats, salads. But for extra flavor, toast whole peppercorns and then grind them up.