Everydayhealth.com says there’s a good reason to get more adventurous with spices in the kitchen: It can be good for your heart.


Penn State University researchers found that adding spices to dishes doused in oil or fat can actually bring down triglyceride levels in the blood. Triglycerides are a type of fat found in the blood, which the body needs and uses naturally, just as it does cholesterol. Cholesterol helps build cells and hormones, while triglycerides store unused calories from food, which the body then uses for energy. But triglycerides, like cholesterol, can raise your risk for heart disease if your levels are too high. With a healthy lifestyle and a good diet, however, you can keep your triglyceride levels on track.


In the Penn State study, the triglyceride levels of those who ate a meal spiced with two tablespoons of a blend of rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, cloves, garlic powder, and paprika dropped by 30 percent, compared to those who ate a similar meal sans spices. What about these spices makes them fight heart disease? A Penn State press release says scientists have linked oxidative stress to heart disease, arthritis, and diabetes. Antioxidants, like the ones in spices, may be important in reducing oxidative stress.


Using spices is a great way to lighten up your cooking, too.