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Penn State researchers have made a discovery that may come as especially good news for individuals who like their food heavily spiced.
In this research, a team of scientists tested the antioxidant effects of spices like cinnamon, turmeric and pepper to see if they had any impact on how the body processes a meal that is high in fat.
"Normally, when you eat a high-fat meal, you end up with high levels of triglycerides, a type of fat, in your blood," said lead author Sheila West. "We found that adding spices to a high-fat meal reduced triglyceride response by about 30 percent, compared to a similar meal with no spices added."
Half of the participants were given meals of curried chicken, herb bread and a cinnamon biscuit, while the remainder of the volunteers ate similar food, but without the spices. Aside from the healthy effect the spices had on triglyceride levels, the more flavorful meals resulted in a 13 percent increase in antioxidant activity in the blood as well as a 20 percent reduction in insulin response.
Authors of the study noted that they used rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, cloves, garlic powder and paprika because of these herbs' and spices' previously demonstrated antioxidant properties.