Table Talk: May 5

The healing properties of herbs and spices

By
April 21, 2011

(Editor’s note: This chat is over, but the transcript is available to read here. And join Kim for another Table Talk chat soon.)

Wendy Bazilian

Dr. Wendy Bazilian, a registered dietitian and author of a book about superfoods, joins Kim O’Donnel on Thursday, May 5. They’ll be talking about the healing properties of herbs and spices — and about cooking with seasonings, too.

The chat takes place right here on Thursday, May 5, at 10 a.m. PT, 1 p.m. ET.

Bring your questions, suggestions, and links. Of course, Kim, a trained chef and cookbook author, will be on hand to give general food and cooking advice too, so bring your how-to questions as well.

Sign up below to receive an email reminder of the chat.

See you then!

 Table Talk with Kim O'Donnel - May 5, 2011(05/05/2011) 
9:45
Kim ODonnel: 
The healing properties of herbs and spices with Dr. Wendy Bazilian -- coming up at the top of the hour!
Thursday May 5, 2011 9:45 Kim ODonnel
10:00
Kim ODonnel: 
Cinnamon. Cumin. Oregano. Thyme. Turmeric.
I think we'd all agree that these five little things make our food taste great. But did you that they all pack a serious nutritional punch? In fact, they are all listed (along with garlic) as "superspices" in The SuperFoodsRX Diet by Dr. Wendy Bazilian, today's guest. (www.wendybazilian.com). I am thrilled to have Dr. Wendy on with us today; I had the great good fortune to meet her last month at the Golden Door Spa where I was participating in a culinary week with guest chef Virginia Willis. Dr. Wendy inspired me with her talk about the healing properties of herbs & spices, and I thought this would make a great chat topic. Welcome, Dr. Wendy!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:00 Kim ODonnel
10:00
[Comment From Lizka Lizka : ] 
So excited about this week's chat! Thanks to Wendy for making the time and to Kim for setting it up. Hi all!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:00 Lizka
10:01
Wendy Bazilian: 
Thanks for having me, Kim. . .and hello to everyone 'tuning' in! I'm excited to have a 'flavorful' conversation!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:01 Wendy Bazilian
10:01
Kim ODonnel: 
Wendy, I don't think a lot of us realize just how efficient herbs and spices can be, as they relate to nutritional prowess. Can you speak to that?
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:01 Kim ODonnel
10:02
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
I'm here!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:02 Jeanne in Seattle
10:02
Kim ODonnel: 
hey Jeanne & Lizka, what are some of your go-to herbs and spices?
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:02 Kim ODonnel
10:03
Wendy Bazilian: 
Did you know. . . 1 teaspoon has antioxidant levels similar to 1 cup of pomegranate juice? And 1/2 teaspoon of oregano has antioxidants similar to 3 cups of fresh spinach. Botanically, herbs and spices ARE fruits and vegetables and have a robust and interesting nutritional profile!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:03 Wendy Bazilian
10:03
Kim ODonnel: 
Did you mean to say 1 teaspoon of cinnamon= 1 cup of pom juice?
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:03 Kim ODonnel
10:03
Wendy Bazilian: 
Oops! A real tease as I get my hands warmed up. 1 teaspoon cinnamon has antioxidants similar to 1 cup of pomegranate juice or 1/2 cup blueberries!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:03 Wendy Bazilian
10:04
Kim ODonnel: 
That's just crazy, Wendy. I mean, 1 teaspoon cinnamon is such an easy add to our dishes...
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:04 Kim ODonnel
10:04
Kim ODonnel: 
Inspiring me to add that to my cereal in the morning...
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:04 Kim ODonnel
10:04
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Basil, I think, is my number one herb. And cumin is my number 1 spice. Also, I use onions almost every time I cook.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:04 Jeanne in Seattle
10:04
[Comment From Sofia T. Sofia T. : ] 
This sounds grrreat!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:04 Sofia T.
10:05
Kim ODonnel: 
Sofia T., welcome. What are your go-to herbs and spices?
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:05 Kim ODonnel
10:05
[Comment From Lizka Lizka : ] 
Go to herbs - well my grandmother is Scicilian so all the "Italian" herbs, also basil is a favorite - helped that it grows well on my balcony.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:05 Lizka
10:05
Wendy Bazilian: 
That's the thing - the FLAVOR of what we're talking about today is key and the ease of use makes it simple to incorporate the beneficial properties. Sprinkle here or there. I like to sprinkle cinnamon on my coffee grounds before brewing.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:05 Wendy Bazilian
10:06
Kim ODonnel: 
It's such a no-brainer to sprinkle this stuff in. Okay, so a few of us are curious about basil. What goodies does basil give us (besides that awesome aroma and flavor?)
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:06 Kim ODonnel
10:06
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
i'm a bit confused by labels - obviously straight up vitamins are labeled, but how do we know - or do we just assume by ingredient lists - what other things are in there - like antioxidants?
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:06 alisoncsmith
10:07
[Comment From Lizka Lizka : ] 
So good to know about cinnamon - I put it in my oatmeal already :)
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:07 Lizka
10:07
Wendy Bazilian: 
You're not alone, Jeanne, turns out cumin-as your number one spice-is also the top selling spice among 'more involved' cooks. (Ground cinnamon is 'overall' as far as number one in the cabinet - next to the 'king' - black pepper.)
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:07 Wendy Bazilian
10:07
Kim ODonnel: 
I remember you saying in your lecture that cinnamon influences blood sugar, correct?
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:07 Kim ODonnel
10:08
Wendy Bazilian: 
Good question about the label. Actually herbs and spices, since their 'serving size' is so small, they don't have to list nutrients per say. And antioxidants are not something that receive label attention. But I'll point to a couple cool nutrients--vitamins and mineral--in a couple.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:08 Wendy Bazilian
10:08
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Wendy: yay! When I drank coffee, that's what I used to do, too. A friend from New Orleans shared that trick with me.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:08 Jeanne in Seattle
10:09
[Comment From Sofia T. Sofia T. : ] 
This is really practical and useful - thank you! Haven't they been researching the herbs and spices quite alot as well. Oregano is our families 'go-to'!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:09 Sofia T.
10:10
Kim ODonnel: 
And in my lecture notes, Wendy, I've got you saying that oregano is anti-bacterial and supports vascular system as well... right?
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:10 Kim ODonnel
10:10
Wendy Bazilian: 
1 teaspoon dried thyme has 30% of your daily vitamin K reco (important for healthy blood clotting/wound healing and bone health)--and important to 'watch' if your on coumadin (a blood thinner). Oregano (1 tsp dried) has 14% your your daily vitamin K. 1 tsp paprika has over 20% of your daily vitamin A (for eye health and healthy skin.)
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:10 Wendy Bazilian
10:11
Kim ODonnel: 
Wow, wow. So just think: Throw in that oregano into your marinara sauce, and you're really taking care of yourself...
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:11 Kim ODonnel
10:11
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
my go-tos are garlic, onion, bay, basil...cinnamon (have just discovered multiple varieties). also love thyme and basil, good oregano...and paprika - both sweet and smoky
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:11 alisoncsmith
10:11
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
My husband is a fan of hot pepper. He puts hot sauce on everything.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:11 Jeanne in Seattle
10:11
Wendy Bazilian: 
Cinnamon has insulin-like activities and a growing body of research suggests it plays a role in healthy blood sugar regulation, yes! Plus it's 'sweet' by nature and may reduce some of the sugar needed to 'sweeten' a food. Oregano is strongly antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiinflammatory. Good stuff! I call it a 'mini-salad'!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:11 Wendy Bazilian
10:12
Kim ODonnel: 
I love it. How can you NOT use herbs and spices?
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:12 Kim ODonnel
10:12
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Mini-salad! I love it!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:12 Jeanne in Seattle
10:13
Kim ODonnel: 
Re: hot sauce comment: Wendy, does red peper impact our satiety/hunger levels??
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:13 Kim ODonnel
10:13
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
i wonder if there's anything to cravings + herbs/spices. i swear i was somehow born in india or armenia - the flavor combinations speak to me like no others - even "american" ones (me being a die-hard 'merican)
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:13 alisoncsmith
10:13
Wendy Bazilian: 
Red pepper - from mild paprika to red pepper flakes to hot cayenne--is DELISH. AND it has a compound called capsaicin that has shown in several studies to help with satiety (the feeling of being satisfied before you are full--and in fact, helping people naturally stop eating sooner=less calories) and ALSO may increase metabolism after eating it! That's a huge bonus!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:13 Wendy Bazilian
10:14
[Comment From Lizka Lizka : ] 
I love cumin but am still trying to get comfortable with it. I don't use it effortlessly like others.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:14 Lizka
10:14
Wendy Bazilian: 
I agree - about how can you 'not' use herbs and spices--it's one delicious way to ADD something to your diet and I always think of herbs and spices as 'friends' to all foods. In a world with so many rules and restrictions--it's cool to know that there are foods/flavors that are 'friends' to all and play nice in the sandbox.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:14 Wendy Bazilian
10:15
Kim ODonnel: 
Lizka, I find cumin is best when mixed with other spices, particularly with coriander (which has a lemony flavor), chile pepper and even a dried herb like oregano or thyme. Rounds it out.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:15 Kim ODonnel
10:15
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Wendy: I find that I like marjoram a bit better than it's cousin, oregano. Are there nutrient diffs between the two?
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:15 Jeanne in Seattle
10:15
[Comment From Sofia T. Sofia T. : ] 
My 14 yr old daughter loves cinnamon sprinkled on buttered toast to start off her busy day (yes, whole grain bread from our fabulous local baker!).
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:15 Sofia T.
10:16
[Comment From Lizka Lizka : ] 
Wow - this is amazing information! A while ago, I tried finding good sold info on this sort of thing and had a hard time finding it. Wendy - did you feel that way too when you were researching this stuff?
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:16 Lizka
10:16
Wendy Bazilian: 
I think this is an interesting time (thyme?!) where we are getting more and more adventuresome with our tastebuds and experimenting. I like the ideas here for cumin--which dates back some 5000 years and has also strong antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:16 Wendy Bazilian
10:16
Kim ODonnel: 
I love adding cumin into a pot of beans, and as part of curry...
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:16 Kim ODonnel
10:16
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Also, you bring up vitamin K. I think people forget that one.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:16 Jeanne in Seattle
10:18
Kim ODonnel: 
Speaking of curry, Wendy it seems like a generic curry powder of cumin, turmeric, chile pepper, cinnamon, etc would be the equivalent of taking a mega vitamin...
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:18 Kim ODonnel
10:18
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
we've run into a difficult thing with some of our older friends who are on blood thinners - they have to be exceptionally careful about vitamin k intake - good to know this about the herbs we almost take for granted
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:18 alisoncsmith
10:18
Wendy Bazilian: 
I haven't seen nutrient comparisons per se between oregano and marjoram. The science on herbs and spices (modern science) is 'emerging' - this is to say that in a scope of 5000-10000 years of history and use--in a culinary and 'medicinal' sense too by other medical systems, western science has been really 'at it' only for a couple/few decades. But the science is growing steadily. And spices and herbs - in my book are CULINARY ingredients (flavor is their 'day job'--but their super power might just be bonus--antioxidants and other cool properties that enhance and promote health.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:18 Wendy Bazilian
10:19
[Comment From Erin Erin : ] 
I'm curious about star anise? I use it a lot in Asian dishes and even add it to marinara. Any benefits?
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:19 Erin
10:20
Wendy Bazilian: 
I'm glad the Vitamin K is a good topic to address. (P.S. I love cumin on beans too, Kim!) This is really important for the blood thinner topic--but ALSO for healthy living, vitamin K is key. . .so it's good to know on both sides. But a bit of a surprise indeed for people who are asked to watch their vit K. They might not think about consistent vitamin K in this area, too.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:20 Wendy Bazilian
10:20
Kim ODonnel: 
Wendy, I recently learned that cilantro works well to remove metals from the body. My naturopath recommended that I eat plenty of cilantro before and after having my fillings replaced over the past week. Thoughts?
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:20 Kim ODonnel
10:20
[Comment From Sofia T. Sofia T. : ] 
Food as medicine - each and every meal really does count. The herbs and spices are such bonuses. Do you ever recommend them 'straight' or direct in a capsule or something like that, Wendy?
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:20 Sofia T.
10:20
[Comment From catsluvr catsluvr : ] 
I organized all of my spices alphabetically with printed labels (60 jars) and still my Mom who had dental surgery and wanted mashed potatoes had my sisters fix her flaked potatoes from the box along with frozen vegetables mashed and she was very happy - I have given up working with my family on healthier eating - they are still in the 1950's and wonder why they all have high blood pressure, cholesterol and weight issues.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:20 catsluvr
10:21
Wendy Bazilian: 
I actually haven't seen research on star anise. I'd have to do a little digging to see if there is anything in the works. Often the more common herbs and spices receive the early attention (and funding).
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:21 Wendy Bazilian
10:22
Kim ODonnel: 
Catsluvr, I have similar issues w/ my mother, who is not super pro-active about using food as medicine. It's frustrating, I know. Would she be open to a little of that cinnamon in her morning coffee?
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:22 Kim ODonnel
10:22
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
I don't react well to spicy hot. It makes me too hot and I can't sleep if I eat it for dinner. I will admit, I don't understand the appeal of eating fire. :)
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:22 Jeanne in Seattle
10:22
Wendy Bazilian: 
Yes! I like the alpha labeling - great idea. My grandmother taught us to hang a sharpie pen off the fridge door (otherwise it walks away) and label the bottles with the date of opening once opened.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:22 Wendy Bazilian
10:24
Kim ODonnel: 
Speaking of which: Dark storage for those jarred herbs and spices! DATE is so important. Buy from bulk section so you can buy in small amounts, use up what you have.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:24 Kim ODonnel
10:24
[Comment From catsluvr catsluvr : ] 
The 6th Annual Herb Day is this Saturday at the Botanical Gardens in DC - great event
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:24 catsluvr
10:24
Wendy Bazilian: 
It's interesting the spicy/hot flavor--indeed some people are much more sensitive and others enticed by it (or can't get enough.) Flavor is individual and I always like to think of our foods -- nutrient-rich whole foods -- as a big list of options. You can benefit from the variety of the ones you do enjoy.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:24 Wendy Bazilian
10:24
Kim ODonnel: 
Catsluvr, sorry I will be not be in town for this. Can you report back?
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:24 Kim ODonnel
10:24
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
jeanne, i didn't get it, either, but over the past 10 years, i've come to enjoy what i call "hot with flavor" - i.e. i can't stand horseradish, but like the heat in most indian dishes
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:24 alisoncsmith
10:24
[Comment From Liz in Louisiana Liz in Louisiana : ] 
I am growing a small herb garden in pots, and wonder if they are more potent fresh or dried?
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:24 Liz in Louisiana
10:25
[Comment From Lizka Lizka : ] 
Yes! I second the Botanical garden Herb day - I went last year on accident and they give away herb plants! It was so cool.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:25 Lizka
10:25
Wendy Bazilian: 
Yes--I like that idea about bulk. Especially if you're interested in trying out something new or an unusual recipe that doesn't yet warrant buying a whole bottle.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:25 Wendy Bazilian
10:26
Kim ODonnel: 
I also find that the bulk area, there's a higher chance of turnover. I have noticed though that Spice Hunter is now offering a space on its label for date, which is a great new development.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:26 Kim ODonnel
10:26
[Comment From Jonathan Tenlitt Jonathan Tenlitt : ] 
Sorry to be sooooo late...I have the hungriest young son on the planet. Are all of these safe and alright for cooking with kids?
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:26 Jonathan Tenlitt
10:26
Wendy Bazilian: 
The Botanical garden herb day sounds wonderful! Fresh herbs are terrific--but you might be surprised (though there's logical reasoning to this too) that dried are actually more 'concentrated' in antioxidants. This is because the water has been removed/dried.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:26 Wendy Bazilian
10:26
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Alison: yes, I enjoy a tiny bit of hot with flavor. But I am surrounded by people who like unfettered hot. :) It's hard to share food sometimes.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:26 Jeanne in Seattle
10:28
Kim ODonnel: 
As for storage, I also recommend a coffee grinder dedicated to spices. It allows me to crush coriander seeds and whatever else to order, allowing for freshest, most power-packed serving as I cook...
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:28 Kim ODonnel
10:28
Wendy Bazilian: 
Yes! To the kids question. I love to say 'kids have taste buds, too!' - same kind of approach with other ingredients and foods in introducing them. But boy do 'baby food peas' taste so much better with some healthy flavor! Around the world, herbs and spices are introduced alongside (inside and with) the foods for babies when they start on solids. In the U.S., we've traditionally been blander or limited (salt/sugar more than others) but this is changing. In fact herb and spice growth in the last 2 decades has outpaced the growth of our population!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:28 Wendy Bazilian
10:29
[Comment From Jonathan Tenlitt Jonathan Tenlitt : ] 
And my son, Jack, is 9 and a hot little guy all of the time. Are peppers and 'heat' OK in my cooking for him and his younger sister?
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:29 Jonathan Tenlitt
10:29
[Comment From catsluvr catsluvr : ] 
she has told me she doesn't like cinnamon and since I am not there and my sis does not cook and her husband does (all fried foods laden with butter) then I have to leave it like it is. They call me the weird one LOL
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:29 catsluvr
10:29
Wendy Bazilian: 
I love the coffee grinder idea for spices. There's nothing more aromatic and 'wow' than when you crack or grind them yourself!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:29 Wendy Bazilian
10:30
Kim ODonnel: 
Catsluvr, sigh. We do what we can do, and even though you may seem like the weirdo, they're probably paying attention. At least that's what I always tell myself...
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:30 Kim ODonnel
10:30
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Also, I have what I call a "thyme-field" in my herb garden. I love thyme!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:30 Jeanne in Seattle
10:30
Kim ODonnel: 
I love thyme too, Jeanne. Love to snip it as I need while cooking...
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:30 Kim ODonnel
10:30
[Comment From catsluvr catsluvr : ] 
The sales person at Penzey's told me to a put a star anise in the water when cooking my rice and I do that with a slug of sesame oil (brown basmati rice) and I love the smell and the taste. Matter of fact a neighbor dropped by and asked what kind of incense I was using and I told her "just good old fashioned spices).
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:30 catsluvr
10:30
Wendy Bazilian: 
Sometimes 'stealth' nutrition can work--if she doesn't like cinnamon, maybe some oregano in pasta sauce, thyme in soups, ginger in lemonade. . . .?
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:30 Wendy Bazilian
10:31
Kim ODonnel: 
In my book, I recommend throwing a cinnamon stick in many of my lentil recipes -- it infuses the lentils and adds extra layer of flavor.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:31 Kim ODonnel
10:31
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
catsluvr - great idea on star anise and sesame in rice! gonna steal that one!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:31 alisoncsmith
10:31
[Comment From Jonathan Tenlitt Jonathan Tenlitt : ] 
Perfect! Thanks a lot. He eats anything and everything and already has such an interesting palate.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:31 Jonathan Tenlitt
10:32
[Comment From catsluvr catsluvr : ] 
I buy either the very small jars of spices at Penzeys or from the bulk sections
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:32 catsluvr
10:32
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
One herb I've come to appreciate a lot in the past few years is parsley. I use it all the time and I love the flavor it adds. Before this, I never really thought of parsely as having flavor.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:32 Jeanne in Seattle
10:32
Wendy Bazilian: 
Researchers have identified more than 2000 phytonutrients in herbs and spices! Cinnamon in lentils sounds delicious--I haven't tried that. I just put a cinnamon stick or two in my water bottle sometimes and get a different kind of 'essence' infused. I love it.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:32 Wendy Bazilian
10:33
Kim ODonnel: 
Wendy, I do the cinn stick for both red lentils & green. It's killer.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:33 Kim ODonnel
10:33
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
jeanne, was it b/c you had only curly parsley at your disposal? i never really knew the difference until recently
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:33 alisoncsmith
10:33
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
i can second kim's cinnamon stick in lentils! love the simple, tasty red lentils w/ garlic, ginger, cinnamon! my toddler loves 'em (his big sister is still working on it
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:33 alisoncsmith
10:33
[Comment From Lizka Lizka : ] 
Oo - cinnamon in water - that is a great idea!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:33 Lizka
10:34
[Comment From Sofia T. Sofia T. : ] 
Great rice idea with star anise and sesame oil! We sprinkle duos of herbs on long grain white rice blends after its cooked and let it steam and blend for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:34 Sofia T.
10:34
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Alison: to be honest, I never really used fresh until about 10 years ago. Then I fell in love with it. I grow flat-leafed in my garden. And I love dried in salad dressings. So awesome. Who knew/
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:34 Jeanne in Seattle
10:35
Wendy Bazilian: 
Here are a few areas of spice/herb research underway:
Cinnamon and blood sugar regulation
Ginger and digestion (nausea, motion sickness) and muscle pain after exercise
Oregano and antibacterial/antimicrobial properties
Red pepper and metabolism; satiety
Rosemary and reducing inflammation and with cognition (brain health
Thyme and reducing inflammation, heart health and respiratory conditions (mild cough)
Turmeric and anti-cancer properties, and cognitive / brain health
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:35 Wendy Bazilian
10:35
Kim ODonnel: 
I am a big fan of flat leaf parsley. Use it w/ all kinds of stuff. Here's an easy one: Lemon zest, chopped garlic and parsley. Use it as garnish for rice, over an egg, in pasta, over fish...
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:35 Kim ODonnel
10:36
[Comment From Sofia T. Sofia T. : ] 
Could you speak about ginger vs. dried ginger? My husband uses both in an asian pho soup that he makes.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:36 Sofia T.
10:36
Wendy Bazilian: 
I love flat leaf parsley too. It's beautiful and I use it as a salad green (like a micro green) too.
And then there's cilantro--don't confuse that one if you have a guest who doesn't like it. There's some research suggestion that cilantro like/dislike is genetic.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:36 Wendy Bazilian
10:37
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
One thing: I appreciate the lovely tastes that herbs and spices add to food. But, I am not a huge fan of lots of them for the sake of piling on the taste. I like my herbs and spices to compliment the food I'm using them in, not overwhelm and take over the flavor. I was so appreciative of a chef who lectured folks to not overwhelm a risotto dish with garlic. He cautioned that you want to taste everything in the dish, not just the garlic.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:37 Jeanne in Seattle
10:38
Wendy Bazilian: 
Both dried ginger and fresh are fantastic. Kim, you're ideas on uses? At Golden Door, we often peel and then box grate a bunch of ginger and "squeeze" it for juice for everything from marinades to salad dressings to 'teas' and beyond.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:38 Wendy Bazilian
10:39
Kim ODonnel: 
For fresh, I like to infuse lentils as well. Just a small peeled hunk. I also like to make a tea with the juice of a few oranges. I love making ginger water -- puree ginger, add water and then use it in stews...
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:39 Kim ODonnel
10:39
[Comment From Jonathan Tenlitt Jonathan Tenlitt : ] 
Do some people actually LIKE cilantro :-) That weird soapiness i just cant get over in my cooking for the family
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:39 Jonathan Tenlitt
10:40
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
ginger lemon tea (yogi brand is my fave) was a godsend during pregnancy...and still love it when i've overindulged. which reminds me! i can't wait to dig into a licorice tea they have that i couldn't have while still a primary nutritional source for my youngest
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:40 alisoncsmith
10:40
Wendy Bazilian: 
I agree--the important use of herbs and spices is to compliment the dish and the ingredients (the friends) in the recipe. Sometimes there's a 'hero' spice or herb that comes through, but the nice thing is that increasingly even the researchers are looking at 'culinary' doses. Meaning the measures that commonly do or can accompany a healthy diet with recipes. That said, the cuisines from around the world other than the U.S. (though we're coming along) do tend to use a a lot more herbs and spices (in flavorful ways) than here.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:40 Wendy Bazilian
10:40
Kim ODonnel: 
OH. I know what I've been wanting to ask: Do you have any nutritional scoop on vanilla beans?
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:40 Kim ODonnel
10:41
[Comment From Jonathan Tenlitt Jonathan Tenlitt : ] 
I grate fresh ginger on veggie sandwiches.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:41 Jonathan Tenlitt
10:41
Kim ODonnel: 
Nice one, Jonathan!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:41 Kim ODonnel
10:41
[Comment From alisoncsmith alisoncsmith : ] 
anything on tarragon, wendy? it's one of my absolute favorites (a sucker for anything anise-y)
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:41 alisoncsmith
10:41
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Jonathan: I agree. Although I do like cilantro in a nice, balanced sofrito. But, other than that, blech.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:41 Jeanne in Seattle
10:42
Kim ODonnel: 
Conversely, I can't get enough of cilantro. I make cilantro pesto (1 bunch cilantro, 1/3 cup walnuts, 1/4 cup olive oil) about every 10 days.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:42 Kim ODonnel
10:42
Wendy Bazilian: 
That soapy flavor that you taste IS exactly as most people who dislike cilantro describe it. However, cilantro lovers love (or at least like-strongly) the fresh, citrusy flavor of this herb/vegetable. And it's rich in antioxidants and other phytonutrients, researchers have found that compounds in cilantro have antibacterial properties, too. But if you HAVE that soapy taste--it's unlikely you'll enjoy it no matter.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:42 Wendy Bazilian
10:43
Kim ODonnel: 
Wendy, I posted earlier that cilantro may also have ability to remove metals from body. Have you ever heard that?
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:43 Kim ODonnel
10:44
Wendy Bazilian: 
I was once served a salad piled high with cilantro. I loved it--however, my friend felt she had been delivered a bar of soap. Yes--cilantro does have some chelating properties and can help in the removal of metals from the body. The body is incredible that way and certain foods (also egg yolks, but we need to more closely watch 'how many' there) have this effect.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:44 Wendy Bazilian
10:46
Kim ODonnel: 
Wendy, herbs and spices play a central role in many cultures around the world. Off top of head, thinking Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Lebanese -- have their been any studies about how in these cultures, longevity is connected to spice/herb diet?
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:46 Kim ODonnel
10:47
Wendy Bazilian: 
I wanted to mention that there are a number of studies that are showing positive benefit from adding antioxidant-rich herb and spice marinades to meats before grilling. Since we're entering grilling season, I thought I'd point this out. In fact, some recent research from UCLA, showed a 71% reduction in carcinogenic compounds produced during grilling from an herb/spice marinated burger vs one that had only salt added. We're talking about those HCAs and malodialdehyde and other compounds that are produced when you grill meat, fish or chicken (but not veggies.)
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:47 Wendy Bazilian
10:47
Kim ODonnel: 
Oh, I'm so glad you mentioned this, Wendy.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:47 Kim ODonnel
10:48
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Here are links to a couple of articles about cilantro removing mercury from the brain: http://www.modernherbalist.com/cilantro.html; http://www.rawfoodinfo.com/articles/art_cilantroremheavymetals.html
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:48 Jeanne in Seattle
10:49
Wendy Bazilian: 
Yes, Kim. In regions of India where there is the highest per capita consumption of turmeric (yellow curries) researchers have observed some of the lowest rates of Alzheimer's which has lead to some of the important clinical and laboratory research in identifying compounds and activities that impact brain health. Also the Mediterranean Diet is rich in herbs and spices form that region and in their cuisine and reflects in part into the equation on how the people who follow that traditional diet/lifestyle have benefited with improved health/less disease risk.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:49 Wendy Bazilian
10:50
Kim ODonnel: 
May is Med Month, fyi...
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:50 Kim ODonnel
10:50
Kim ODonnel: 
I love the Alzheimer's -turmeric link. That is some amazing food for thought...
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:50 Kim ODonnel
10:50
[Comment From Jonathan Tenlitt Jonathan Tenlitt : ] 
Are you gals amazing or what! This real-time interaction i am in need of at meal prep time! Like a pre game plan/pro decision making consult!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:50 Jonathan Tenlitt
10:51
Kim ODonnel: 
Jonathan, maybe we can twist Wendy's arm to come back from time to time...
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:51 Kim ODonnel
10:51
[Comment From Lizka Lizka : ] 
Jonathan - Hope you can visit with us again; I've enjoyed your comments. :)
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:51 Lizka
10:52
Wendy Bazilian: 
Yes! It is. Mediterranean diet (plus activity and social engagement) is comprised of:
A variety of fresh, whole foods
-Fruits and vegetables
-Legumes
-Whole grains
-Nuts
-Healthy fats , especially olive oil
-Fish
-Wine in moderation and with meals (and water!)
-And, Herbs and Spices
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:52 Wendy Bazilian
10:52
Kim ODonnel: 
So Wendy, what do you have on rosemary?
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:52 Kim ODonnel
10:52
[Comment From Tiffany Ran Tiffany Ran : ] 
Hi Kim, do you think the Tumeric-Alzheimer would apply to Parkinson's? Hard to tell how these things work
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:52 Tiffany Ran
10:52
Wendy Bazilian: 
Thanks, consider my arm-twisted. Oooo ouch! Yes. So much fun!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:52 Wendy Bazilian
10:53
Kim ODonnel: 
Tiffany, I'll let Wendy speak to this. Any data on turmeric and Parkinson's?
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:53 Kim ODonnel
10:54
Wendy Bazilian: 
Rosemary has shown to inhibit/reduce inflammation and may offer cognitive benefits. I've been reading about this--emerging, not conclusive--for over 20 years. In fact as a teen, I tried rosemary in my morning cereal to help me with my test taking (I was young and naive, what can I say--blech!) But I did do pretty well on the test. (True story)
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:54 Wendy Bazilian
10:54
[Comment From Tiffany Ran Tiffany Ran : ] 
Thanks, father has Parkinson's and many issues. Want to help change his diet to slow progression. Suggestions welcome.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:54 Tiffany Ran
10:56
Kim ODonnel: 
So here's a palatable morning dish w/ rosemary (or early lunch): White bean puree w/ rosemary, paprika and garlic. On toast.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:56 Kim ODonnel
10:57
Wendy Bazilian: 
I haven't seen research on herbs and spices and associations with Parkinson's. So I don't know how it would relate. I would just say generally that since inflammation has been tagged as a risk factor for so many of our chronic diseases and health issues today that a DIET (the foods you eat, not supplements) that is strongly antiinflammatory in nature (which doesn't mean 'no room for treats') and also tastes great is key. So the herbs and spices certainly fit there even in the absence of clear research on the condition.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:57 Wendy Bazilian
10:57
Kim ODonnel: 
Before we sign off, wanted to mention that next week's chat (5/12) will feature Casson Trenor of Greenpeace, who will talk about sustainable seafood.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:57 Kim ODonnel
10:58
[Comment From Tiffany Ran Tiffany Ran : ] 
Thanks, Wendy!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:58 Tiffany Ran
10:58
Wendy Bazilian: 
I love beans--they pair so easily with all the great foods- herbs and spices - veggies and whole grains, soups and salads. I think I have all the ingredients for the early lunch of which you speak, Kim!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:58 Wendy Bazilian
10:58
Wendy Bazilian: 
Thank you, Tiffany!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:58 Wendy Bazilian
10:58
Wendy Bazilian: 
Thank you, everyone!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:58 Wendy Bazilian
10:58
Kim ODonnel: 
And I think that's the big take away today, Wendy; adding herbs and spices to our meals need not be complicated.
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:58 Kim ODonnel
10:58
[Comment From Jonathan Tenlitt Jonathan Tenlitt : ] 
Sounds interesting, Kim. Wendy, you seriously ROCK! See you all next thyme...
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:58 Jonathan Tenlitt
10:59
Kim ODonnel: 
A big round of virtual applause to Wendy Bazilian, who is a wealth of information. Please come back and see us!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:59 Kim ODonnel
10:59
[Comment From Jeanne in Seattle Jeanne in Seattle : ] 
Thank you so much, Wendy!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:59 Jeanne in Seattle
10:59
Wendy Bazilian: 
That's a great takeaway--herbs and spices offer flavor + nutrition and it's as easy as a sprinkle here and there throughout your day. Flavor and good health. Lots of reasons to season!
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:59 Wendy Bazilian
10:59
Kim ODonnel: 
You can find out more about Wendy's work at: www.wendybazilian.com
Thursday May 5, 2011 10:59 Kim ODonnel
11:00
Wendy Bazilian: 
I love virtual applause! I can feel it! Thanks, Kim!!!
Thursday May 5, 2011 11:00 Wendy Bazilian
11:00
Kim ODonnel: 
We'll get you on the schedule again, for sure. Thanks again.
Thursday May 5, 2011 11:00 Kim ODonnel
11:00
[Comment From Tiffany Ran Tiffany Ran : ] 
(applaud) Thanks to both of you. Bye!
Thursday May 5, 2011 11:00 Tiffany Ran
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Table Talk

Kim O’Donnel is a trained chef, nationally recognized online food personality, and a longtime journalist. She is the author of a new cookbook, The Meat Lover’s Meatless Cookbook.

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