New Reasons to Season: Spices and Herbs are Surprisingly Rich in Antioxidants, on Par With Many Fruits and Vegetables

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 General News
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HUNT VALLEY, Md., April 14 When you hear the word"antioxidants" mentioned, what foods immediately come to mind? Blueberries?Pomegranates? How about cinnamon?

That's right, when it comes to antioxidant prowess, just one teaspoon ofcinnamon vies for top billing along with a half cup of blueberries and one cupof pomegranate juice. Surprising to some, spices and herbs are extremely richin antioxidants -- with levels comparable to many fruits and vegetables,including today's popular "super foods."(1)

Nutritionists have long recommended spices and herbs as a way to addflavor without fat, salt or sugar -- making it easier to meet today's dietaryguidelines. But now studies suggest adding more spices and herbs to your dietmay not only please your palate, it could enhance your health.

"It's the ultimate in good nutrition news when adding a favoriteingredient increases the health benefits of the foods we're already enjoying,"said nutrition expert Wendy Bazilian, DrPH, RD, author of the newest editionof The SuperFoodsRx(TM) series, The SuperFoodsRx Diet: Lose Weight with thePower of SuperNutrients. "Using more spices and herbs is an easy, simple stepthat everyone can take to help improve the overall quality of their diet."

To make it easy -- and delicious -- to enjoy the potential benefits ofspices, McCormick(R) has created a unique collection of new recipes, speciallydesigned to deliver up to half a teaspoon of antioxidant-rich spices perserving.

The Original Functional Foods?

In many cultures throughout history, spices and herbs have been used forboth culinary and medicinal purposes. Only recently have scientists turnedtheir attention to the potential health benefits of spices and herbs. "Thestudy of spices is a relatively new area of nutrition science investigation,but one that holds great promise. What is especially encouraging is that thespice amounts being studied are reasonable for culinary usage," said Dr.Bazilian.

Researchers are investigating the unique protective properties of spicesand herbs, and their role in possibly reducing inflammation. Inflammation hasbeen identified as a precursor to many chronic diseases. Other researchers areexploring the potential of spices to boost metabolism, promote satiety, aidweight management and enhance the overall quality of the diet. To advance thescience of spices and herbs, McCormick created the McCormick ScienceInstitute, an independent research organization supported by McCormick &Company, Inc.

Many spices and herbs appear to have some beneficial effects, but sevenSuper Spices that may hold the greatest potential to improve our healthinclude:

More Reasons to Season

Botanically, spices and herbs are classified as fruits and vegetables.That's why these plant-derived ingredients are naturally high in antioxidants.And, since they no longer contain the water that makes up a significant partof the weight of fresh produce, spices and herbs offer a big antioxidant punchin a very compact package. Spices and herbs also are rich in phytonutrients,such as carotenoids, flavonoids and other phenolics, which possesshealth-promoting properties beyond antioxidation.

To help enjoy the taste and health benefits of the Super Spices throughoutthe course of the day, Dr. Bazilian recommends these simple tips:

You'll find everything you need to start enjoying the health and tastebenefits of spices at -- a valuable resource tohelp you boost your intake of the seven Super Spices. Log on to find scores ofnew specially designed recipes that deliver a big hit of antioxidant-richspices and other nutrient-packed ingredients. From appetizers, main dishes,sides and desserts -- you'll find an array of tempting recipes that arebursting with flavor and health-promoting potential. To jump start your u

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