How can you add extra flavor to the foods you eat without adding calories? Spices answer that question nicely. Beyond adding extra taste and flavor, spices also provide significant health benefits. This article will highlight two of the many spices that add to the taste of foods while also possibly contributing to your health.
The first of these spices is garlic. Garlic can be crushed or bruised. Either way it releases compounds that have antiviral, antibacterial and antioxidant effects. The most notable compound in garlic is allicin which gives it its aroma and taste which is certainly well known to many people.
For those who consume garlic regularly a number of diseases may be reduced. These include hypertension, cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol or triglycerides or periodontal disease or infections. The amount needed to reduce risk is about a clove of garlic daily. Studies have shown that freshly crushed garlic has a more substantial effect than processed garlic. This is due to the allicin decaying quickly.
Garlic can be used in many recipes and with a wide range of foods. Tomatoes, dark greens, broccoli, cauliflower, meat, fish and poultry are a few such items. Almost any recipe that calls for onions or shallots can include garlic in addition or instead.
Roasted Garlic Bread
Makes two servings
One garlic bulb (recipe uses four roasted cloves)
Two pieces of whole-grain bread, toasted
Preheat the oven to 400° F.
Peel away the outer layers of the garlic bulb skin, leaving the skins of the individual cloves intact. With a knife, cut off ¼˝ to ½˝ of the top of the bulb, exposing the top of the garlic cloves.
Place the garlic heads on a baking pan or a muffin pan. Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the garlic bulb, using your fingers to make sure the exposed garlic head is well coated.
Cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 400° F for 30-35 minutes or until the cloves feel soft when pressed. Allow the garlic to cool enough so you can touch it without burning yourself.
The second of many spices that will be highlighted is ginger. Research has shown that ginger has a number of compounds that can provide anti-inflammatory effects. Ginger is associated with treatment or prevention of a number of diseases such as stomach aches, asthma, toothaches, gingivitis, arthritis and high blood pressure. A recent study showed the usefulness of ginger to reduce muscle soreness after an intense workout. These benefits can occur with as little as two grams of ginger per day. This equals 1 Tablespoon of fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon of powered ginger.
Ginger is often used in Asian and Indian cooking and works well with carrots, spinach, fish, chicken, meat and even fruits such as oranges or Granny Smith apples. The recipe below is one in which ginger adds a great flavorful addition.
Orange Ginger Stir-Fry with Chicken
Makes four servings
1 medium orange
4 tsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 cup (C) reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 Tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 Tbsp chili sauce, optional
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1˝ pieces
Two garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp olive or sesame oil
2 C fresh broccoli florets
2 medium sweet red or yellow peppers, julienned
½ C carrots, cut into thin coins
⅓ C unsalted cashews, optional
3 C hot, cooked brown rice
Grate orange peel, reserving 1½ tsp. Peel and section orange. Set orange sections aside.
In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and ginger. Stir in the broth, soy sauce, chili sauce, and reserved grated orange peel until blended. Set aside.
In a large skillet or wok, stir-fry chicken and garlic in oil for 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned.
Add the broccoli, peppers, and carrots. Stir-fry for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp-tender. Stir broth mixture and add to the pan. Bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.
Remove from the heat. Stir in cashews and reserved orange sections. Serve with rice.
These are only two of many spices that do double duty. Enjoy the flavor and improve your health at the same time!
Source: www. rd411.com.
Author: Liz Smith, Family and Consumer Science Educator, Ohio State University Extension.