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An Introduction to the Necessity of Chemically Active Culinary Spices

Wednesday, 23 January 2013 00:00

spicesBy Justin Penoyer

The importance of bio-active spices in the diet has long been understood in traditional medical systems, and modern science has made significant progress over the last two decades in revealing both the scope and critical roles culinary spices play in health and disease.

There are currently near 200 spice-derived nutraceuticals under study for a variety of therapeutic activities, including but not limited to tumor necrosis factors, anti-inflammatory agents, protein and cellulose digestive aids, and antiseptic activities that negate harmful compounds found in vegetables and meats.

Most of these beneficial chemical agents are volatile oils found within the various spices, the same oils that give a spice its distinctive aroma. The term "volatile" is used to reflect the delicate nature of these oils and their tendency to degrade or evaporate quickly due to processing and exposure to heat and oxygen.

Spices that have been irradiated (sterilized), mechanically processed, grown non-organically, or stored for extended periods have little to no volatile oils and therefore no aroma and little dietary or therapeutic benefit.

This is a primary reason why we make our seasoning blends by hand in small batches--to ensure that these delicate oils are not exposed to heat or otherwise damaged in their processing, as well as enable us the ability to deliver a fresh product that delivers it's full potential of enzymes and oils. The average McKormic spice bottle is over 10 years old by the time it is purchased. Compare the aroma of our seasoning to any other and you'll quickly realize just how great a difference there can be.

For further research you may read a comprehensive study on the therapeutic activities of culinary spices made available by the National Institute of Health -->here.

By Justin Penoyer

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