Spicy Food May Improve Your Health

A new study suggests common spices can dramatically lower triglyceride and insulin levels.
Keeping things spicy may be good for your heart. (Photo: Michael Rosenfeld/Getty Images)
Mar 12, 2012· 0 MIN READ
Nichol Nelson hails from Minnesota, but has worked in food journalism in New York and Los Angeles for more than a decade. She served as an editor with Gourmet magazine for six years, and has contributed to several other digital and print food publications.

Turns out, spices like paprika and turmeric are good for more than just adding flavor to your meals—they can also radically cut levels of triglycerides (a type of fat) in your blood.

That’s the conclusion of a new study conducted by researchers at Penn State. When a liberal dose of spice was added to high-fat meals, triglyceride levels fell by 30 percent, and insulin levels dropped by 20 percent, reports NPR.

To conduct the study, researchers served a bland, high-fat meal to a group of subjects. The next day, the identical meal—this time heavily seasoned with a spice blend that included garlic, paprika, rosemary, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves—was given to the test group. That’s all it took: triglycerides and insulin took a nosedive.

Those are pretty impressive numbers, and head researcher Sheila West told NPR she plans to continue the study to isolate which spices provide the most benefit.