Spice for Flavor and Health

April 24, 2012

Spices are a section of the store that is often ignored. Take this category to a new level by promoting flavor and health benefits.

Spices do much more than just flavor our food. They remind us of times visiting other countries, add health benefits, and help many of us that may be experiencing their senses fading to truly taste a wonderful meal. In the health department, herbs and spices devoid of advertising campaigns show tremendous promise in the prevention and maintenance of good health. The category lends itself to excellent marketing opportunities for supermarkets and CPGs. McCormick (LINK http://www.mccormick.com/SpicesForHealth.aspx) is already taking full advantage of the opportunity at hand. To add to the health benefits, the increasing boomer population also needs to spice up their foods. As we age our taste buds loose their vigor, so adding more spice to meals is key.

Here are a few popular spices and their benefits.
Ginger is not just great in stir-fries; it exhibits antioxidant effects and the ability to lessen the formation of inflammation in the brain (similar to turmeric). Gingerol is the compound responsible for ginger’s many benefits including the ability to significantly help with nausea, vomiting, and morning sickness. It is a powerful antioxidant and is thought to relax blood vessels, stimulate blood flow and relieve pain. Ginger is also thought to aid in the protection against certain cancers.
Sage does more than just season the Thanksgiving dinner. In fact, sage is thought to be a great brain food. A British research team looked into sage’s therapeutic properties and memory and found that those who consumed sage oil performed significantly better at memory tests than the placebo. The sage group also demonstrated improvements in both immediate and delayed word recall scores and reported improved mood.
Here’s another reason to add Indian curries to the prepared foods section of the store; curries typically contain turmeric, a deep yellow/orange colored spice that has been used for countless centuries not only as a spice but also in traditional Asian medicine for healing. Traditional medicine has “prescribed” turmeric to help gastrointestinal problems, arthritic pain, and a lack of energy; in recent years, scientists have found that the polyphenol curcumin (responsible for turmeric’s color) may protect and heal due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties. Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties are also thought to benefit blood flow to the brain, inhibiting and reducing plaque build up, thus showing promise in the prevention of diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Rosemary, the pine-like herb, offers anti-inflammatory protection to the delicate human brain and is thought to improve concentration. In winter, a rosemary bush inside the house acts as a natural air freshener and “cleaner” along with being convenient for cooking. Rosemary halts gene mutations that could lead to cancer and may help prevent damage to our circulatory system thereby reducing risk for cardiovascular complications.

In terms of health benefits and wonderful spices the list goes on and on.
The addition of spices can benefit the taste of almost any food and can help curb salt usage. In store demonstrations are also great as they show customers how easy it is to add spice to every meal, as well as allowing customers to sniff selected spices. After all, adding spice means adding a wealth of health benefits and flavor.