Dr. Patel’s Favorite Spices for Tastier and Healthier Meals

Do you ever feel like meals boring and tasteless – especially when you are trying to lose weight?  I love cooking and I am excited to share with you how you can create tasty meals that satisfy your appetite throughout your weight loss phase and beyond!

You see, healthy recipes don’t need to be boring.  Spices can add a lot of flavor to foods, all the while giving you antioxidants and other nutrients for your health. Just a little spice can take your dishes to a new level.

Let’s start with turmeric. A relative of ginger, this vivid yellow-orange spice is common in Indian, Southeast Asian, and Middle Eastern cooking. It has a warm and earthy flavor and adds both flavor and a bright yellow color to foods.  You can add 1-2 teaspoons of this spice to smoothies. It can be added to soups, as well as rice to give a beautiful yellow pop of color. You can even add it to some warm milk with a little bit of honey for a nice soothing drink.

Next, how about garlic. This tasty veggie is loaded with antioxidants and as vitamins and minerals like manganese and selenium. Sautéing is the most common method used for cooking garlic. It brings out the nutty but savory flavor of the garlic. It can also be roasted. This mellows the flavor and releases the sugars giving it a rich caramel flavor. So, grab the freshest garlic cloves you can find and add them to your daily diet to get amazing benefits for your body.

Another of my favorite spices is cinnamon. It has potent antioxidant properties. It helps fight inflammation and has also been shown to lower cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. However, one of the most important properties of cinnamon lies in its ability to lower blood sugars. Studies have shown that cinnamon can lower fasting blood sugars by 10-29% in diabetic patients, which is a pretty significant amount. Aim for one-half to two teaspoons of cinnamon per day.

Speaking of spices, we cannot forget about ginger. It is definitely amongst the healthiest spices in the world. It comes from the root of a plant. In fact, it is closely related to turmeric.  Ginger contains a compound called gingerol, which holds most of the medicinal properties of this spice. For instance, it can be helpful for nausea caused by morning sickness. Some studies show that ginger can help decrease blood insulin levels and may help with weight loss even.  When cooking with ginger, go for the fresh rather than dried and powdered.  Cooking it mellows the flavor, so if you want a stronger flavor, add it to foods at the end. The best tool when using ginger is a wand-style grater called a microplane, which processes the ginger to a fine pulp.  So, if you want to add ginger to your diet, feel free to add it to a variety of different foods and even drinks.

And last but not least, cloves. It is one of the oldest spices around. And did you know that of all the spices out there, cloves have the highest amount of antioxidants? They can be purchased ground or whole for use in cooking. They have to have a very strong pungent flavor and aroma. It is a warm spice, similar to cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Because of its strong flavor, a little bit goes a long way. They can be added whole to rice, or can be ground for desserts.

If you are not used to adding spices to foods, they can be a bit intimidating. But, just adding a little bit of spice will keep your routine dishes from becoming mundane. Since most of them are strong in flavor, remember to start with small amounts. They add amazing flavor, aroma, and color to your dishes. And let’s not forget about the wonderful health benefits that go with it!

At our weight loss center, we love helping our patients lose weight and enjoy the journey along the way with flavorful foods and comprehensive medically supervised services.  We even have a kitchen where we help our patients learn how to create healthy meals that taste great!  You can see everything we have to offer and ask any questions by clicking here or give us a call at 703-783-5673.

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