In a new controlled eating study from Texas Tech University, researchers found that seasoning food with 6.5 grams, or about 1.3 teaspoons, of herbs and spices a day was linked to lower blood pressure after four weeks .
According to researchers, cardiometabolic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and type two diabetes continue to be one of the leading causes of death in the United States.
Less salt and more spices
While seasoning foods with herbs and spices rather than salt has long been encouraged to enhance flavor without added sodium, less was known about whether herbs and spices have their own health benefits .
For the study, the researchers recruited 71 people with risk factors for heart disease. Each participant consumed all of the spice diets, one low, one moderate, and one high in herbs and spices, in random order for four weeks each, with a two-week break between each diet period. Blood samples were drawn from each participant at the beginning of the study, as well as after each diet period .
All three diets were based on an average American diet, reflecting what a typical American consumes in one day, but with three different doses of herbs and spices added. The low, medium, and high-dose diets included approximately 0.5 grams, 3.2 grams, and 6.5 grams of herbs and spices, respectively, per day.
The doses included a blend of 24 different herbs and spices , from basil and thyme to cinnamon and turmeric, designed to simulate the way people use different herbs and spices throughout the day while cooking.