The People's Perspective on Medicine

Show 1056: What Can Spices Do for Your Health?

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In southern Italy, people use a pungent form of rosemary in meals every day. They live into their 90s. Could herbs & spices do the same for you?
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Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme:

Could rosemary in your food be part of the secret to long life? Will sage make you smarter? Will garlic, leeks and onions help you keep your heart healthy? Cinnamon, fenugreek and turmeric all appear to help regulate blood sugar. Could they be useful in warding off type 2 diabetes? What more can herbs and spices do for health?

Getting More Oomph from Our Diet:

How might we change our diet so we get more of the antioxidant compounds from polyphenols in spices and herbs? It is just possible that some of the numerous health benefits from the Mediterranean diet might be attributed to the herbs spicing up the food.

Finding Out What Spices Do:

We talk with Dr. Alan Maisel about his pilot study in an Italian village where the local cooks put rosemary in nearly every dish. The people live a relaxed, active lifestyle and eat the archetypal Mediterranean diet rich in local vegetables, olives and fish. What might the herbs and spices do to help them live well into their 90s?

This Week's Guest:

Alan S. Maisel, MD, is Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. He is Director of the Coronary Care Unit and Heart Failure Program at the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System. His preliminary research on health and longevity in southern Italy got attention in The Daily Beast and the New York Times.


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