Loading...
I have been watching the commercials for the third district race and found it to be a down-to-the-wire-event. We have...

Using spices and herbs

Kolasa, Kathy
Loading…

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

 

Q: I don’t think my mom ever used anything other than salt, pepper, and cinnamon to flavor food. She said it was silly and expensive to a container and then use only ¼ teaspoon. I am intrigued by the possibility that some herbs might be helpful in controlling inflammation. Can you tell us more about the benefits of using spices and herbs in food? MG, Greenville.

A: I know lots of folks who skip adding a ¼ teaspoon of this or that spice and just stick to salt and pepper and they are missing out on a world of flavors as well as some potential health benefits. Meredith Nelson, an ECU senior dietetic student wanted to share some thoughts with you about the health claims for spices and herbs. Here is what she wants you to know.

“Garlic can relieve symptoms of the common cold!” “Cinnamon can boost your metabolism!”

From soothing a sore throat to curing cancer, claims that herbs and spices can be used for medicinal purposes, a part of traditional medicine, dates over 60,000 years ago. Remedies have been passed down for generations, and nowadays, you can find many spices in pill-form at the local pharmacy. News outlets are quick to headline claims that certain herbs and spices can, for example, lower blood pressure, help with weight loss, or relieve a headache. Unfortunately, in most cases, the research doesn’t provide strong evidence to fully support the claim in question. Even if there is evidence of healing properties in an herb or spice, the experts don’t usually know the frequency or dosage necessary for the desired effect.

But, what do we know for certain?

Spices add flavor to foods and can make your meal more appetizing. If you avoid lean meat or certain vegetables because they lack flavor, try spicing up your foods. Using spices as an alternative to other flavorings, like barbecue sauce filled with added sugar and creamy dressings filled with fat, also can be beneficial to your health. By swapping unhealthy sauces for spices, you are eliminating the extra calories, sugar, sodium, and fat from your meal. If you are trying to reduce the sugar in your diet, try swapping a sweet tasting spice like ginger, cinnamon, or nutmeg for sugar. If you are limiting sodium, trade salt for savory flavors like garlic powder or onion powder. When purchasing spices, be sure to check the ingredient label as manufacturers sometimes add sugar or sodium. When examining the label, the ingredients are listed in order of prevalence by weight, from most to least, in the food product. If a seasoning has sugar listed first on the ingredients label, then that product is composed of primarily sugar and isn’t likely to be a healthy option.

You can learn more about health claims you hear or see about herbs and spices at MedlinePlus.gov, a database produced by the US National Library of Medicine. It is a reliable source that addresses health claims made for many herbs and spices. On the MedlinePlus.gov homepage, click the “Drugs & Supplements” tab at the top. There, you can browse supplements alphabetically. Click the supplement’s name to view information about the supplement’s effectiveness towards certain ailments, if a recommended dosage is known, and the safety of the herb or spice. Talk with your physician before using an herb or spice for medicinal purposes especially if you are taking other medications that could become more or less effective if taken along with certain herbs.

When cooking with herbs and spices, the most delicious meals often result from using a blend of spices. For example, a taco seasoning consists of chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes, oregano, paprika, and cumin. Buying seven different spices for one meal instead of one can of taco sauce can seem excessive and financially unrealistic, however, one container of a spice goes a long way. You only need to use a small amount of each spice per meal to add a whole lot of flavor. One standard, 2-ounce container should last for countless meals. The taco seasoning above calls for 1 teaspoon of each seasoning, and a 2-ounce container contains 21 teaspoons, so you could make tacos 21 times. From those seven taco seasoning spices, you can mix and match seasonings to create a new meal and flavor. For example, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and chili powder create a barbecue-like spice rub for grilled chicken.

If you’re still not convinced to invest in spices, here’s more good news. Many discount grocery stores have a wide selection of herbs and spices for only about one dollar or less. Within Greenville, I, personally, have seen dried herbs and spices at these prices at Dollar Tree and Walmart. During my most recent Dollar Tree visit, I noticed garlic powder, dried oregano, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, onion powder, paprika, Italian seasoning, and cinnamon – just to name a few! When shopping at discount stores, be cautious of the expiration date of items. Spices are safe to use past expiration, but they likely will have lost some flavor. So, next time you find yourself reaching in your pantry for a bottle of barbecue sauce, try experimenting with your favorite herbs and spices instead!

 

Professor emeritus Kathy Kolasa, a registered dietitian, nutritionist and Ph.D., is an Affiliate Professor in the Brody School of Medicine at ECU. Contact her at kolasaka@ecu.edu.

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Look

June 19, 2019

It is no secret that health care communication can be incredibly complex. This is especially so for patients who experience language and cultural barriers.

Luckily, there is a group of specially-trained Vidant Health Language Access Service interpreters who offer a voice to patients in-need, 24/7.…

5d08fa61e075c.image.jpg

June 19, 2019

Q I saw a story in a cooking magazine with the headline, “yes ultra-processed foods could be killing you.” What are ultra-processed foods and is that a true statement? CC, Winterville

A I have said in this column, in talks, when counseling patients and when feeding family and friends,…

Kolasa, Kathy

June 16, 2019

Even though I’ve spent a significant portion of my adult life working in TV, I was often too busy to actually watch much of it, or at least to pay much attention to the commercials.

Now that I’m semi-retired and am watching more television, mostly on cable news channels, I’m…

Bob Garner.jpg

June 14, 2019

In many ways, theater is like a spelling bee. Those preparing to take the stage spend weeks practicing and memorizing, hoping they won't get tripped up by a word when they get their moment in the spotlight.

Perhaps nowhere is this parallel more evident than in “The 25th Annual Putnam County…

bee

June 12, 2019

Q My doctor told me to follow an anti-inflammatory diet. Can you give me any tips? MM, Winterville

A I hope your doctor gave your more information about your dietary goals since you won’t find that title in the diet manual used by health care professionals.

Most registered dietitian…

Kolasa, Kathy

June 12, 2019

One of my favorite summertime activities is attending cookouts. They have a myriad of tasty food from grilled meats, salads, desserts, and all the other fixings we associate with this event. One of my favorite things to serve at a cookout is seafood in any form from grilled, marinated to fried.

If…

The whiting sandwich from 42 Fry.

June 09, 2019

Having experienced deep depression firsthand, I now feel a sense of kinship with others who have struggled to overcome the same condition and still battle regularly to remain mentally healthy

As someone who’s in the public eye in a very minor way, it encourages me to know about far more…

Bob Garner.jpg

June 09, 2019

On our way to play golf today, Charlie and I couldn't think of the name of the movie star who had come up in our conversation. We could remember all the movies he was in, all his co-stars, all kinds of odd trivia about his life and times — everything but his name. That's all right; sometime…

JimMullen

June 09, 2019

This is the second of two columns on divisions inside United Methodism. Part 1 was published May 29.

The word "conversion" has been at the heart of Christianity for two millennia, with missionaries and evangelists urging sinners to repent and change their wicked ways.

Jesus also needed to be…

Terry Mattingly

June 07, 2019

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby were the co-creators of an X-Men character named Jean Grey. In Marvel comic books, she has been known under various aliases — Marvel Girl, Phoenix and Dark Phoenix. A mutant, Grey was born with telepathic and telekinetic powers. She rivals Professor Xavier in her mind-…

x-men-dark-phoenix-1558109594.jpg
208 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 21
        Next Page»   Last Page»