Spring into Health by Spicing it Up!

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I love spices because they are loaded with nutrition, low in calories, and they are a great alternative to salt, making my food tasty and healthy.  Best of all, spices come to the rescue when I don’t have much time to cook! Here are a few spices I recommend you try this spring and why!

Turmeric

Turmeric is my all-time favorite herb; it’s main component, curcumin, has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. Studies have shown that curcumin can even shrink cancerous tumors! It adds a yellowish/orangeish (very pretty) color to whatever you cook. Add it to veggies, eggs, soups, and rice. It’s taste is comparable to mustard but not as pungent.

Dill

Dill is a special herb because we can use the leaves and the seeds for seasonings! The leaves provide a sweet taste, while the seeds give a flavor of sweet, aromatic, but slightly bitter. Dill has been shown to be a natural anti-depressant. One study found that it was effective as some drugs prescribed for depression. And another neat thing about dill that comes in handy this time of year is that it is a natural bug repellant. Add it to salad. I also combine lemon juice, olive oil, and dill, and add it to meats that I bake.

Rosemary

Rosemary has a nice woody flavor. It is great to add to any grilled meat or a perfect addition to a soup for those spring days that are still a bit chilly. Studies suggest that regular consumption of rosemary can improve your memory and your ability to concentrate. It also is a natural anti-bacterial.

Cilantro

Cilantro is loaded with vitamin K (great for bones), but what I love about cilantro is that it can detox your body of heavy metals! It can also help balance blood-sugar levels! Bust those pesky sugar cravings! Combine a quarter cup chopped cilantro with the juice of a lime. Maybe add some garlic and spread on salmon—this is so good!

Ginger

Ginger is awesome because its unique flavor is both sweet and spicy. I love mincing it and adding t to salad or grilled meat. It has a compound called gingerol that has amazing anti-inflammatory properties. It’s a great tummy settler too. Eat too much at lunch. Calm down that tummy with ginger tea or grated ginger on a salad for dinner!

Spice it up this spring and boost your health so easily!

By Kelly Springer, RD, MS, CDN

 

 

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Food Trends to Try in 2017

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You all know I am not a fan of fad diets so you won’t get any advice for me on that front. I believe in healthy eating for life. With that said, I do get excited about some health food trends that the media grabs onto. Here are my top three favorites:

  1. Veggie pasta

Move over ancient grain and whole wheat pasta, hello veggie pasta. I often teach my clients to switch over their pastas to whole wheat pasta or ancient grain pasta, such as quinoa pasta. While these are great ideas for adding fiber into your diet, they are not quite as nutrient-rich as the real deal—whole grains unadulterated, in their original form.

BUT who needs grain-based pasta, when you can make pasta out of a veggie like zucchini? Look into picking up a spiralizer to try this trend that is sure to stick!

  1. Spices galore

In 2016, the FDA announced its plan to reduce sodium in processed foods. This is excellent news! Salt is the number-one culprit in high-blood pressure, which is a huge contributor to heart disease.

As a result, many food companies are doing something that I have recommended to many of my clients. They are using spices like oregano, ginger, cumin, paprika, and turmeric instead of so much salt! Get creative. Google “homemade healthy spice blends” and you will find a plethora of delicious ways to flavor your food with little to no salt!

  1. Plant butchery

Yes, you read that right. What is plant butchery? It is the art of using plant-based food in traditional meat dishes and making it taste “just as good” to big-time carnivores. For example, portabella mushrooms can stand in for burgers. Look out for options of chickpeas and legumes as stand-ins for meat. We’re not talking mock meats that are processed like soy dogs or seitan stir-fries, we’re talking plants instead! This is so awesome!

Try some of these trends for yourself. I guarantee restaurants will begin offering them and recipes galore will be entering the scene daily!