Spices add flavour and kill harmful bacteria

March 17, 2003 in Nutrition Topics in the News

Spices add flavour and kill harmful bacteria

The herbs and spices that you use in your daily cooking may not be just for flavoring only.

More research is being conducted on the chemical compounds that give herbs and spices their unique flavors. These phytochemicals evolved as a means of protecting the plant from its natural enemies: parasites, pathogens and predator. In other words, the same chemicals that make rosemary taste like rosemary also may have antimicrobial effects.

"Spices come from nature's arsenal of poisons," says evolutionary biologist Paul Ewald of the Univeristy of Louisville. "We ask ourselves, 'Why is cinnamon in the bark of a tree?' The answer is that it has poisons which the tree has evolved to keep from getting eaten." "The thinking is that if plants are protecting themselves from bacteria, then we can protect ourselves from the same or similar bacteria by putting more of these compounds into our food."

Extensive research from Kansas State University in Manhattan, found that garlic, cloves, oregano, sage and cinnamon were effective in killing E.coli O157:H7.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.