Cinnamon: Fights Diabetes
HOW IT WORKS: People with type-2 diabetes have difficulty processing insulin, the hormone that tells cells to remove excess sugar from the bloodstream. But studies show that cinnamon contains a substance that can help cells respond to insulin. The result? A reduction of blood sugar levels by an average of 18 percent to 29 percent, according to a recent Pakistani study. TRY TO GET: 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon (or one stick) a day. USE IT: Mix 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon into 2 tablespoons peanut butter, and spread over apple slices.
Rosemary: Improves Memory
HOW IT WORKS: “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance,” Ophelia said to Hamlet more than 400 years ago. Today, a variety of studies back up Ophelia’s claim. The ursolic acid in rosemary inhibits the breakdown of a neurotransmitter essential for memory. TRY TO GET: 1 to 2 teaspoons a day. USE IT: Make a rosemary-infused simple syrup by mixing 1 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, and 2 sprigs rosemary. Bring to a boil so sugar dissolves, and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes. Drizzle over a fall fruit salad of chopped apples, pears, and red grapes. Use 1 cup syrup to 4 cups fruit.
Garlic: Reduces Cholesterol
HOW IT WORKS: Although researchers disagree about how effective garlic really is at lowering cholesterol, a review of several studies conducted by the Linus Pauling Institute found that people who took garlic for three months had a 6 percent to 11 percent reduction in total cholesterol. Because garlic is an antioxidant, it may prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in the arteries. TRY TO GET: 3 to 5 crushed cloves a day. USE IT: Roast up to 5 garlic cloves, and add to homemade hummus before pureeing.
Nutmeg: Lowers Blood Pressure
HOW IT WORKS: “Warming spices” like nutmeg can bring blood from the center of the body to the skin. This helps disperse the blood more evenly throughout the body, reducing overall pressure. TRY TO GET: 1/2 to 1 teaspoon a day. USE IT: Steam 1 head of broccoli and one potato until soft, and then puree with 1/4 cup butter and 4 to 5 gratings of fresh nutmeg or 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg.
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