To Your Health
March, 2024 (Vol. 18, Issue 03)
Share |

The Power of Herbs & Spices

By Editorial Staff

The Mediterranean diet gets considerable praise from a health perspective for its emphasis on whole grains, nuts/seeds, fish, legumes and vegetables. But don't overlook the health benefits of another aspect of the diet: aromatic herbs and spices, which research shows can help improve the glycemic profile in type 2 diabetics.

Blood sugar issues are a hallmark feature of type 2 diabetes, as the body is unable to remove sugar from the bloodstream in adequate fashion. Glycemia refers to the presence of glucose (sugar) in the bloodstream. A large research review investigated the impact of aromatic herbs and spices commonly featured in the Mediterranean diet (for example, black cumin, clove, parsley, rosemary, black pepper, turmeric, basil, oregano, cinnamon) on glycemic profile. The subject group in all studies: adults ages 18-80 with type 2 diabetes.

Among diabetics, markers of type 2 diabetes with regard to the ability to effectively remove sugar from the bloodstream improved with aromatic herb and spice use, with the marker impacted dependent on the herb/spice. Per the review authors, writing about their findings in Nutrients:

"Cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, black cumin, and saffron significantly improved fasting glucose in T2DM subjects. However, the greatest decreases in fasting glucose, between 17 and 27 mg/dL, were achieved after supplementation with black cumin, followed by cinnamon and ginger. On the other hand, only ginger and black cumin reported a significant improvement in HbA1c."

If you're diabetic or prediabetic, talk to your doctor about natural, drug-free ways to improve and even reverse type 2 diabetes with lifestyle changes such as consistent exercise and better dietary choices – including adopting the Mediterranean diet.