ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Childhood Food Allergies on the Rise
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
Keep Asthma, Allergies at Bay for the Holidays
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
Acupuncture May Not Help Hot Flashes
Insight on Herbals Eludes Doctors, Patients Alike
ANIMAL CARE
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Safe Toys for Dogs
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Many Americans Fall Short on Their Vitamin D
Fall Sports Peak Time for Lower Leg Damage
Rheumatoid Arthritis a Threat to the Heart
CANCER
Method for Treating Cervical Lesions May Pose Pregnancy Risks
Low Vitamin D Levels May Initiate Cancer Development
Papaya Could Be a Cancer Fighter
CAREGIVING
3 Steps Might Help Stop MRSA's Spread
Undoing the 'Big Baby' Trend
Hospital Volume Imperfect Gauge of Cancer Surgery Outcomes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
A Brisk Pace May Keep Stroke at Bay
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
COSMETIC
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Rheumatoid Arthritis May Harm Gums
Good Oral Hygiene May Protect Against Heart Infections
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
DIABETES
Red-Grape Compound May Improve Diabetes
Fish Twice a Week Cuts Diabetics' Kidney Risks
Coffee, Tea Might Stave Off Diabetes
DIET, NUTRITION
Just Say No to Nuts During Pregnancy
Six Healthy-Sounding Foods That Really Aren't
Adding Garlic Might Cut Cancer Risk
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Household Chemicals May Affect Cholesterol Levels
Chemical in Plastics May Cause Fertility Problems
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
EYE CARE, VISION
Hybrid Cars Pose Risk to Blind, Visually Impaired
When Corks Fly, Watch the Eyes
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
FITNESS
Exercise in Adolescence May Cut Risk of Deadly Brain Tumor
Diet, Exercise May Slow Kidney Disease Progression
Research Confirms How Valuable A Healthy Lifestyle Can Be
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
Traditional Nonsurgical GERD Treatments Not Impressive
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
GENERAL HEALTH
Eating More Soy May Be Good For Your Lung Function
More Medicinal Uses for Pomegranate
Good Sleepers More Likely to Eat Right
HEAD & NECK
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
Combating Myths About Seasonal Allergies
E-Mailing Your Way to Healthier Habits
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Whole Grains Lower Risk of Heart Failure
Fish Oil Supplements Help With Heart Failure
Vigorous Exercise Cuts Stroke Risk for Men, Not Women
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Bacterial Infections May Succumb to Honey
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
Swine Flu Loves a Crowd
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
School Meals Need to Get Healthier
Babies Who Eat Fish Lower Eczema Risk
MEN'S HEALTH
Lots of Sex May Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
The Dark Side of Vegetarianism
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
MENTAL HEALTH
Meaningful Conversations Boost Kids' Language Skills
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
Optimism May Boost Immune System
PAIN
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
Are We Exercising Pain Away? Not So Much.
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Prenatal Stress May Boost Baby's Asthma Risk
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
SENIORS
The Juice From Beetroots May Boost Stamina
As You Age, Better Health Means Better Sex
High-Impact Activity May Be Good for Old Bones
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Pay Attention to Signs That Say You're Too Fatigued to Drive
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
Rheumatoid Arthritis Rising Among U.S. Women
Acupuncture May Ease Depression During Pregnancy
Add your Article

Spices, Herbs Boost Health for Diabetics

By Randy Dotinga
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 17 (HealthDay News) -- Spices may do more than flavor your food: New research suggests a shake of this and a pinch of that could also boost the health of diabetics.

Researchers bought 24 herbs and spices and found that many appear to have the power to inhibit tissue damage and inflammation brought on by high blood-sugar levels in the body.

The study didn't examine the direct effects of spices on diabetics. Also, spices are typically used in small amounts, making it unclear if those who eat them would get much benefit.

Still, "this gives people a tool to work with in terms of keeping their health as they want it to be," said study co-author James Hargrove, an associate professor at the University of Georgia.

Hargrove and his colleagues were intrigued by spices because they're rich in antioxidants, which are thought to protect cells from damage. "One can put a lot of antioxidant power into meals by using spices" without making people fatter, he said. "Because of the way they're prepared, herbs and spices tend to have low calorie contents."

In addition, spices are cheaper than many other food products, he said.

The researchers decided to look into the anti-inflammatory properties of spices. "We said, 'Let's just go to Wal-Mart, get all the McCormick brand spices we can find, and check those. That was as complicated as our study design was."

The findings appear in a recent issue of the Journal of Medicinal Food.

In laboratory tests, the researchers found that many of the spices and extracts appeared to inhibit a process known as glycation, which has been linked to inflammation and tissue damage in diabetics.

The spices that seemed most likely to help diabetics included cloves, cinnamon (previously pegged as a possible blood-sugar reducer), allspice, apple pie spice and pumpkin pie spice, Hargrove said. Top herbs included marjoram, sage and thyme.

Other spices and herbs were "still rich compared to other foods" when it comes to the effect, he said.

Lona Sandon, national spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, said that while research does suggest that spices are high in antioxidants and may reduce blood-sugar levels, it's difficult to make recommendations about how much to use.

Even so, "I say add as much herbs and spices as your taste buds and tummy can take," she said. "They add flavor and fun to foods without adding calories or fat. Their potential for promoting health outweighs any risks, unless, of course, you have an allergy to a particular spice."

More information

Learn about the history of spices from the University of California at Los Angeles.



SOURCES: James Hargrove, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Foods and Nutrition, The University of Georgia, Athens; Lona Sandon, ME.d., R.D., assistant professor, University of Texas Southwestern, Dallas, and national spokeswoman, American Dietetic Association, Dallas; June 2008, Journal of Medicinal Food

Last Updated: Oct. 17, 2008

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