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Study Details how Spices and Herbs Aid in Healthy Eating

Update Date: Oct 28, 2014 11:25 AM EDT

Proper nutrition is essential for a leading healthy lifestyle. In a new publication, researchers detailed the importance of using spices and herbs to help reduce overall intake of sodium, calories and fats.

"We now understand that spices and herbs have a meaningful role to play in bringing flavor to the forefront of today's health and wellness conversations," said Johanna Dwyer, DSc, RD, professor of medicine and community health at Tufts University School of Medicine, reported in the press release. "It will take all of us working together - from scientists to chefs and product developers to policy makers - before we can really begin to improve public health through flavorful eating."

The publication was created based on studies that were presented at a Science Summit convened by the McCormick Science Institute and the American Society for Nutrition. It features 16 articles published by experts that examined the benefits of using herbs and spices.

Overall, the authors concluded that spices and herbs could improve health on five levels. First, the use of these ingredients can increase people's acceptance of healthy foods. In one of the papers, researcher James O. Hill, Ph.D., from the University of Colorado and the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center, concluded that spices and herbs could make low-fat meals more appealing.

Second, herbs and spices can help reduce people's sodium intake. Researchers from Johns Hopkins discovered that participants who used spices and herbs consumed an average of 966 milligrams of sodium less than the group that did not use these ingredients.

Third, a study conducted at Maastricht University found that using red pepper spice could increase satiety while boosting metabolism, which can help with weight management. Fourth, a study out of the Penn State University reported that using a spice blend was tied to reducing risk factors for heart disease. Fifth, research conducted by Richard Anderson, PhD from the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center suggested that cinnamon could help with blood glucose levels and insulin sensitivity.

Based from the combination of these studies' findings, the publication concluded that through consumer education, product develop and public policy, they can hopefully increase the use of herbs and spices.

The scientific supplement, "Spices and Herbs: Improving Public Health Through Flavorful Eating," was published in the journal, Nutrition.

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