Nutrition Tip of the Week April 16, 2018

Nutrition Tip of the Week:  Some condiments may have health benefits; others should be avoided

Your diet may have hidden benefits. The little extras we add have the potential to help or hurt our health. New research shows that certain spices and herbs not only boost flavor but can also help curb appetite, ease digestion, and even promote better memory.

Nine condiments that are good for you:

Ketchup:  Lowers risk of cardiovascular diseaseDaily dose: 3 to 4 tablespoons

Lycopene — a powerful antioxidant in ketchup — may slow the process that leads to atherosclerosis, says Betty Ishida, PhD, a USDA research biologist.

Beware:  Ketchup also contains sugar and sodium—moderation is key!

Buckwheat honey:  Fights agingDaily dose: 2 to 4 tablespoons

Dark honey like buckwheat or blueberry contains the most antioxidants, say researchers at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, who analyzed 19 varieties.

Beware:  Honey is still sugar!  Use in moderation—notice the serving size (daily dose).

Rosemary:  Eliminates foodborne carcinogens:  Daily dose: 1 to 2 tablespoons

Rosemary minimizes or eliminates carcinogens formed when cooking some foods, say scientists at Kansas State University, who found that seasoning beef with rosemary before grilling can reduce cancer-causing substances called heterocyclic amines by 30 percent to 100 percent.

Horseradish:  Detoxes your body  Daily dose: 1/4 teaspoon

Glucosinolates, compounds in the roots and leaves of the horseradish plant, can increase your liver’s ability to detoxify carcinogens and may suppress the growth of existing tumors, says a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Horseradish is one of nature’s best sources of glucosinolates.

Olive oil:  Boosts long-term memory:  Daily dose: a few tablespoons

Olive oil is a great source of oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid that is converted during digestion to oleoylethanolamide (OEA), a hormone that helps keep brain cells healthy. In a new study from the University of California, Irvine, rodents fed OEA were better able to remember how to perform two tasks than those that didn’t eat it.

Beware:  olive oil is fat!  Use in moderation, take note of the serving size, and be aware of the calorie content of just one tablespoon.

Cinnamon:  Stabilizes blood-sugar levels:  Daily dose: 1 teaspoon

People who added cinnamon — one-half to a heaping teaspoon — to a sweet dish experienced a slower rise in blood sugar than those who didn’t consume any, found a series of studies in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Hot sauce:  Curbs appetite:  Daily dose: a few dashes

Eating just one meal that contains capsaicin — the compound that gives hot sauce and chili peppers their heat — not only reduces levels of hunger-causing ghrelin but also raises GLP-1, an appetite-suppressing hormone, says new research in the European Journal of Nutrition.

Sauerkraut:  Eases digestion:  Daily dose: 1/2 cup

Sauerkraut is full of probiotic bacteria such as Lactobacillus plantarum (L. plantarum) that can help relieve the gas, stomach distension, and discomfort associated with irritable bowel syndrome — and may improve the quality of life in up to 95 percent of those with IB

Black pepper:  Guards against cancer:  Daily dose: To taste

Piperine, a compound in black pepper, may help interrupt the self-renewing process of cancer-initiating stem cells, according to new research from the University of Michigan.

Condiments and add-ins to avoid:  creamy dressings (ranch), coffee creamer, butter (and other saturated fat), sugar, and salt.


NBC News. (2018). Health, Diet, and Nutrition:  Condiments that are Good for You.             Retrieved from:     diet_and_nutrition/t/condiments-are-good-you/



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