Adding some spices to your food may lead to a healthier life

Studies have shown that some spices may help reduce sodium levels and the risk of developing some chronic diseases.

Using spices is a great way to reduce sodium and enjoy a nutritious, healthy meal or snack, recommends Michigan State University Extension. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), certain foods and food components are consumed in excessive amounts, which may increase the risk of certain chronic diseases. Some of the components from these foods that are excessively consumed include sodium, saturated fat, trans fatty acids, added sugars and refined grains. Reducing these food components can help Americans meet their nutritional needs within appropriate calorie levels and help to reduce risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and certain types of cancer.

Recent human studies reported by the USDA indicate that consuming roughly one-half a teaspoon of cinnamon per day helps lead to dramatic improvements in blood sugar, cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides. Intake of cinnamon, at these levels, is also a safe ingredient to add to your daily diet. Unlike other spices, cinnamon has not been known to cause many side-effects.

Using too much sodium in a diet is a habit often learned. We can change/prevent this behavior in children while they are young, which may reduce their risk for high blood pressure and chronic diseases when they are adults. A great way to reduce sodium is to avoid salt. The USDA has a great brochure full of information about making small changes in your diet.

Using spices to season food will remove some of the desire for sodium. Here is a recipe for a sauce that does not call for any added salt. This recipe is for apple-raisin sauce. The spices are the key to the taste.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cups apple juice                                          
  •  ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup apple butter                                             
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon molasses                                       
  • ½ teaspoon orange zest
  • ½ cup raisins

Instructions:

Stir all the ingredients together in a saucepan and simmer over low heat. Simmer for five minutes while stirring. Serve this sauce warm as a dip or topping. This recipe makes approximately two cups of sauce. Try it on bread pudding.

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