Stop the presses! Too much salt in the diet…..is still bad for you. This time eating a high-salt diet might contribute to liver damage in adults and developing embryos.
The research, just published in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, is actually an animal study using adult mice and chick embryos. After feeding the mice a high-salt diet and exposing the chick embryos to a briny environment, the researchers from Jinan University in Guangzhou, China observed changes that can lead to fibrosis in the liver(s) of these animals.
Flavor does not begin and end with salt. Americans’ palates have expanded since the 1950s when the average kitchen pantry contained just 10 (or fewer) very basic spices for cooking. There is an interest in regional cuisines, new ingredients, and unique flavors. Just check out your local food truck festival to see what I mean.
Herbs and spices can not only replace the salt shaker, but can help to reduce added sugars while adding flavor and powerful antioxidants to every meal. You see, spices and herbs are botanically classified as fruits and vegetables. While an herb typically comes from the leaf of a plant, a spice could come from the root, bark, seed, bud or flower.
Many herbs and spices have antioxidant levels that rival those of familiar “super foods” like blueberries and kale. For example, just 1 teaspoon of cloves* has an ORAC value of 6096, while one-half cup of blueberries* is just 3455.
Researchers are accumulating evidence of potential health-related benefits of spices and herbs. Black pepper, Chili powder, Cinnamon, Cloves, Cumin, Garlic powder, Ginger, Oregano, Red pepper, Rosemary, Thyme and Tumeric are considered “Super Spices”. You may have already read about Cinnamon’s ability to assist with blood glucose control in Type 2 diabetes. But did you know that Ginger may reduce muscle pain caused by rigorous exercise?
The theme of National Nutrition Month 2016 is Savor the Flavor of Eating Right. This month and beyond, put away the salt shaker and instead add a flavor with benefits.
*USDA Database for the Oxygen Radical Absorb ance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods, Release 2 (2010).