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Healthy Spices for Healthy Blood Glucose Levels

Healthy Spices for Healthy Blood Glucose Levels

Greet holiday guests with a fragrant mug of hot cider spiced with cinnamon and cloves. These healthy spices will do more than warm them up.

Cinnamon and cloves are irresistible flavorings, but they aren't just treats for your tastebuds. They also provide powerful health benefits, like helping the body process blood glucose -- essential to avoiding diabetes. Keep both healthy spices handy for baking, hot drinks, and savory dishes. Cooking with them is as easy as apple pie.

Cinnamon is well known as a stellar antioxidant and a potent germ-killer, and there's a growing body of evidence that shows that a substance in the spice turns on insulin receptors to help the body use glucose. Which is a good thing, because too much glucose in the bloodstream is tough on your organs and a marker of diabetes. Cloves appear to have a similar effect on blood glucose.

So don't save these healthy spices for holiday cooking. You can use cinnamon liberally, but cloves -- ground or whole -- really pack a flavor punch and take a lighter hand. For ways to get more of these good-for-you spices into your everyday life, try these tips: Sprinkle both on fresh apple slices and poached pears.

  • Add cinnamon and cloves to slow-cooker dishes for an Indian-inspired flavor twist.
  • Add ground cloves to stuffing recipes.
  • Use a cinnamon stick to stir your tea, hot chocolate, or warm soymilk.
  • Sprinkle both spices into muffin batters and on whole-wheat toast.
  • Keep a cinnamon shaker next to the salt and pepper on the table and experiment.
  • Push whole cloves into an onion and place it in turkey or chicken cavities for flavorful roasting.

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