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Heart Health Awareness

February is American Heart Month so we thought it would be a good idea to share with you some of the benefits that spices have in helping prevent heart disease. 1 out of 4 deaths in America is caused by heart disease which results in 600,000 deaths every year. To give a little bit of perspective on how many people that is consider that the largest stadium in the country, Michigan Stadium at The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, seats roughly 110,000 people. That means you would have to fill it nearly 6 times to account for all the people that die each year from heart disease. 715,000 Americans have heart attacks every year and 190,000 of those Americans suffered at least one heart attack previously. Heart disease is the number one cause of death in America and eating healthier can help prevent diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, arrhythmia and high cholesterol.


Salt

The benefit of making our own seasoning blends is that we can control the amount of salt in each blend. Because of this we have been trying to scale back on how much salt we use and we try to eliminate it all together when we can. Our Salt-Free page has our whole selection of seasoning blends where we've completely eliminated salt. It's also worth pointing out that regular raw spices don't contain any salt either. Our philosophy is that you can always add salt but you can't take it away once it's in there.

Often times people think that because you are eliminating salt you are eliminating flavor from your meals; this doesn't have to be the case. Like I mentioned, we have a ton of really good seasoning blends that don't contain salt. If individual spices are your thing you can always add them to a dish to make up for the lack of salt. Here is a list of spices and herbs you can use to replace salt and retain flavor from The American Heart Association.


     Allspice: Lean ground meats, stews, tomatoes, peaches, applesauce, cranberry sauce, gravies, lean meat

     Basil: Fish, lamb, lean ground meats, stews, salads, soups, sauces, fish cocktails

     Bay leaves: Lean meats, stews, poultry, soups, tomatoes

     Caraway seeds: Lean meats, stews, soups, salads, breads, cabbage, asparagus, noodles

     Chives: Salads, sauces, soups, lean meat dishes, vegetables

     Cider vinegar: Salads, vegetables, sauces

     Cinnamon: Fruits (especially apples), breads, pie crusts

     Curry powder: Lean meats (especially lamb), veal, chicken, fish, tomatoes, tomato soup, mayonnaise

     Dill: Fish sauces, soups, tomatoes, cabbages, carrots, cauliflower, green beans, cucumbers, potatoes, salads, macaroni, lean beef, lamb,
      chicken, fish

     Garlic (not garlic salt): Lean meats, fish, soups, salads, vegetables, tomatoes, potatoes

     Ginger: Chicken, fruits

     Mustard (dry): Lean ground meats, lean meats, chicken, fish, salads, asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, mayonnaise, sauces

     Nutmeg: Fruits, pie crust, lemonade, potatoes, chicken, fish, lean meat loaf, toast, veal, pudding

     Onion powder (not onion salt): Lean meats, stews, vegetables, salads, soups

     Paprika: Lean meats, fish, soups, salads, sauces, vegetables

     Parsley: Lean meats, fish, soups, salads, sauces, vegetables

     Rosemary: Chicken, veal, lean meat loaf, lean beef, lean pork, sauces, stuffings, potatoes, peas, lima beans

     Sage: Lean meats, stews, biscuits, tomatoes, green beans, fish, lima beans, onions, lean pork

     Savory: Salads, lean pork, lean ground meats, soups, green beans, squash, tomatoes, lima beans, peas

     Thyme: Lean meats (especially veal and lean pork), sauces, soups, onions, peas, tomatoes, salads

     Turmeric: Lean meats, fish, sauces, rice


Turmeric

Turmeric contains curcumin, which gives it its unique yellow color and is also a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound. What that means is that it can combat tumors and reduce the risks of sticky, clot-forming blood. Curcumin has also been found to help prevent heart failure by blocking the biochemical reactions involved in cardiac hypertrophy, inflammation and fibrosis. It's also worth noting that adding black pepper to your turmeric can increase its bioavaliability by 1,000 times.


Ginger

In World Wars I and II ginger became known as "Russian Penicillin" for the way that they used it to control infection, pus, and gastrointestinal disorders. This is because garlic is an excellent natural blood thinner, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial agent which explains why it has been used as medicine dating all the way back to Hippocrates. There have also been studies done on garlics effect on blood pressure. High blood pressure is a main factor in heart disease-related deaths.


Cayenne Pepper

Not only does cayenne add a kick to any dish you add it to it also helps your body. Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin which is a common ingredient in over-the-counter hot/cold creams used to alleviate muscle and joint pain. Through a thermogenic effect capsaicin raises the body temperature and boosts circulation in the area where it's applied. What this means when you eat it is that it can help burn calories. It's also a rich antioxidant that reduces lipid oxidation and decreases platelet stickiness.


Oregano

Oregano is a staple in many of our Italian seasonings and dishes but its also really good for your heart. The antioxidants found in oregano are quadruple the amount that you would find in blueberries. It has been a staple of natural medicine for thousands of years and is even believed to help things such as acne and dandruff. Just a little bit of oregano in your meals can go a long way towards fighting those obnoxious free radicals.


Cinnamon

Diabetes is a group of diseases that effects 25.8 million Americans (7 million don't even know they have it) so ways to battle it are in high demand. Cinnamon has shown signs that it can help improve glucose and lipids levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. When having to deal with a disease such as diabetes it can be worth it to try anything and everything and who would complain about needing to eat a little more cinnamon? Add it to your coffee, oatmeal, peanut butter, even sweet potatoes and carrots everyday.


We aren't going to claim that using these spices are a magic ticket to abundant health. Most importantly, we recommend talking to your doctor about how to modify your diet to keep yourself and your heart healthy. Heart disease is a major problem in this country and if using more spices in our meals can help prevent 1 out of 4 deaths then it is something worth looking at. For more information on heart health and ways to keep your body healthy check out The American Heart Association's website.

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