Q: What exactly is National Nutrition Month? 

A: Education on healthy lifestyle.

March is National Nutrition Month is a nutrition education campaign of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly known as The American Dietetic Association). National Nutrition Month takes place annually to educate the public of the importance of a healthy lifestyle. Each year the Academy sets a themed campaign that focuses on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and exercise habits. This year’s theme, “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right” encourages everyone to enjoy food traditions and appreciate the pleasures, great flavors and social experience that food can add to our lives. This year the Academy encourages adding the different flavors of herbs and spices to our food. By using more herbs/spices we can drastically reduce the use of sodium and fat in our diet.  Being mindful of sodium consumption and keeping saturated fats at a minimum are two of ten cancer preventing guidelines from the American Institute for Cancer Research. Adding herb/spices to your food is a quick and easy way to add flavor and hidden health benefits.

A number of herbs/spices also have anti-inflammatory properties, which can be beneficial in the fight against cancer and recurrence. The list of anti-inflammatory herbs/spices is quite extensive, and you may be using a number of them currently and not even realizing the benefits they provide. The list includes: Basil, Bay Leaf, Chervil, Chives, Cilantro, Cinnamon, Clove, Dill, Garlic, Ginger, Marjoram, Mustard, Nutmeg, Paprika, Parsley, Pepper, Rosemary, Saffron, Sage, Tarragon, Thyme, and Turmeric. As always I encourage you to get these in the form of seasonings rather than in supplement form. Happy cooking!