Among other things, the holidays are a time of national dysnutrition: the disease of excess. Dysnutrition happens even in the most developed countries when food is plentiful but the overall diet is based on eating all the wrong balance of foods. Sound familiar? The typical American diet that is high in simple carbohydrates white flour, white salt, and processed food is aging us. We are getting all the bulk without the nutrients, plus adding to our propensity for developing real food cravings. So whether you are a vegetarian or an omnivore, you can start to reverse aging by simply choosing to eat the right foods to keep you full of vim, vigor, and vitality, especially over the holidays.
The easiest way to make sure you are getting more nutrients into every meal, even when you are grazing at the office cocktail party or the neighborhood potluck dinner is by choosing foods that are loaded with spices. Every time you flavor your meals with herbs or spices you are literally "upgrading" your food without adding a single calorie. You are taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary by adding color, flavor, vitamins, and often medicinal properties. Here’s why:
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Spices and herbs maximize nutrient density. Herbs and spices contain antioxidants, minerals and multivitamins. At the cocktail party, choose the Thai chicken satay stick over the tried and true fried chicken strip.
Spices and herbs create a more thermogenic diet. Because spices are nutrient dense, they are thermogenic, which means they naturally increase your metabolism. As your metabolism revs higher you will burn more of the food you have already eaten as fuel, and store less as body fat. At the dinner party, finish off the meal with coffee or tea sprinkled with cinnamon, which contains dozens of nutrients.
Some spices and herbs increase your overall feeling of fullness and satiety, so you’ll eat less. One study conducted at Maanstricht University in the Netherlands showed that when one consumes an appetizer with half a teaspoon of red pepper flakes before each meal, it decreased their calorie intake by 1016%. If you’re planning a holiday menu, think of starting with a tomato soup sprinkled with red pepper.
January 29, 2010