Nutrition expert's advice on simple addition to meals to help blood sugar, arthritis and inflammation

Molecular biologist Kanchan Koya said spices could do many things from controlling blood sugar to helping soothe a sore throat
Molecular biologist Kanchan Koya said spices could do many things from controlling blood sugar to helping soothe a sore throat -Credit:Zoe

A nutrition expert has shared a simple tip on the Zoe health podcast that could significantly boost your meal's nutritional value, with potential benefits for blood sugar levels, arthritis, gut health, and inflammation. Dr. Kanchan Koya, who appeared on the podcast, recommends just two teaspoons of a particular spice to make a noticeable difference in some health aspects.

Dr. Koya, a molecular biologist with a passion for spices, suggests that incorporating them into your diet can substantially improve its quality and impact your health. She elaborated: "You can definitely enhance the quality of the diet by also adding spices."

She highlighted a study from Penn State University that investigated the effects of adding a spice blend to a typical American meal, such as a hamburger, which is generally not considered healthy. Dr. Koya explained: "So a study out of Penn State that looked at the addition of a spice blend and they added this to sort of a standard American diet, typical hamburger meal - so something that isn't great for you."

The research found that when the spice blend was included in the meal, there were immediate reductions in inflammatory markers. Dr. Koya noted: "And they gave people the meal either with or without the spice blend. And they basically found reductions in inflammatory markers right after the meal when the meal had the spice blend."

Dr Koya shared her insights on the unexpected outcome considering the meal, and thought it was not only healthier but also tastier: "I think that's really empowering and exciting because again, it was culinary amounts of spices. I'm sure the burger tasted better with the blend versus without the blend and there was this real reduction in biomarkers of inflammation right after the meal.", reports Wales Online.

Speaking on Zoe, she disclosed that arthritis can also be improved by this particular spice: "There have been some more studies looking at the impacts of specific spices on inflammatory conditions like arthritis. So there was a study that got quite a bit of buzz looking at turmeric supplementation versus traditional non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs that many people use for arthritis, but have some side effects especially on gut health."

"They found that turmeric supplements worked as well as the NC I DS without the negative side effects. Now, the issue there is that they did use quite high concentrations of curcumin, which is the bioactive polyphenol in turmeric. So I think it's not clear that you can achieve the same therapeutic effect with turmeric in the diet if you have full-blown arthritis, but if you are looking to lower inflammation and prevent an inflammatory condition, I think that a case can be made for just adding more of these anti-inflammatory spices to your kind of regular rotation."

You can view the complete episode here. Kanchan Koya, a food scientist and founder of the spice-focused food blog Chief Spice Mama, is also the author of the cookbook '100 Recipes with Healing Spices for your Family Table'.