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The Health Benefits of Cooking with Herbs and Spices

A single whiff of cinnamon or even the sight of the crockpot can bring a flood of mouthwatering memories of the tastes of fall. From baked squashes and apple pie to chicken & dumplings and pot roast, fall flavors take us through the transition to cooler weather and heartier meals. Believe it or not, our long, hot summer is coming to an end!

Beyond infusing the house and your dinner plate with blissful aromas, there are many health benefits to cooking with herbs and spices. These potent flavor agents can help you reduce the amount of salt, sugar and fat you use in your cooking, which is good for your heart, your blood sugar and your waistline. On top of that, herbs and spices have numerous healing and health-promoting properties that make them worth using if for no other reason.

Antioxidant

Cinnamon, cloves, peppermint, sage and oregano top the list of herbs and spices that

pack a powerful antioxidant punch. Antioxidants protect cells from damage caused by exposure to pollutants and normal metabolism. Eating more antioxidant rich foods decreases your risk for heart disease, infections (hello, cold and flu season) and some kinds of cancer.

Anti-inflammatory

Cinnamon, turmeric, ginger and rosemary, among others, work at a cellular level to reduce pain and inflammation naturally, without the side effects associated with over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers. Using these herbs and spices in everyday cooking, and especially with healthy fats, can help your body regulate its inflammatory response.

Blood Sugar Regulation

Cinnamon, cloves, oregano, sage and garlic – there are many fall flavors that can help control blood sugar levels. Whether they work directly by increasing insulin sensitivity or indirectly by reducing inflammation, when eaten in combination with a healthy diet, regular use of these herbs and spices can have long-lasting results.

This fall, get in the habit of using a variety of herbs and spices. Your taste buds and your body will thank you!

Learn more about cooking with herbs and spices in these classes:

10/13/15 Savor the Flavor: Cooking with Herbs

10/15/15 Spice it Up: Seasonal, Healthy Indian Cooking

10/28/15 /It's Thyme to Heal: Medicinal Uses of Culinary Herbs

11/10/15 Spice it Up: Seasonal, Healthy Mediterranean Cooking