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Tis the Seasoning: How Herbs and Spices Can Help You Live Better

Posted by Joan Salge Blake  December 16, 2013 12:55 PM

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Sage. Photo Source:  NCCAM
By now, we all know that we need to reduce the sodium in our diet as research suggests that as the sodium in our diet increases, our blood pressure follows.  With high blood pressure being associated with heart disease and stroke, major killers of Americans, retiring the salt shaker is not new news.  But the latest research suggests specific herbs and spices can not only replace sodium as a seasoning and flavoring agent in your meals, but more importantly, also provide health benefits on their own.

For example, as you age and your memory declines, sage may be your best friend as research has uncovered that this savvy herb may improve memory and attention in older adults.   Garlic has been shown to potentially help lower blood pressure, especially in people with high blood pressure, and  in short-term studies, ginger has been shown to be helpful in relieving the gosh awful nausea that many pregnant women experience.  The jury is still out on whether or not ginger can also help the nausea that is often experienced by those who are plagued with motion sickness or undergoing chemotherapy.   Lastly, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, (NCCAM)  website, “Preliminary findings from animal and other laboratory studies suggest that a chemical found in turmeric—called curcumin—may have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antioxidant properties, but these findings have not been confirmed in people.”

While many of us have a cupboard full of herbs and spices, the million dollar question is what herb or spice goes with which foods?   The following chart will help you to spice up your life and season your foods without salt.

Source:  McCormick
Try some of these seasoning combinations and you will be deliciously surprised how quickly you will be able to stop reaching for the salt to flavor your meals as well as improve your health.

Be well, Joan

If you have topic you would like me to cover on my blog, please email me at:

                                        Follow Joan on Twitter at:  joansalgeblake

Originally published on the blog Nutrition and You!.
This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

Joan Salge Blake, MS, RD, LDN, is a clinical associate professor and registered dietitian at Boston University in the Nutrition Program. Joan is the author of Nutrition &You, 2nd Edition, More »

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