Tag Archives: spice

Scent and Memory – a Powerful Combination!

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Orange-Creme Ganash
Pumpkin Spice Cake with Orange-Creme Ganash

As you smell a fresh pine tree, cookies baking, bayberry or orange, do flashes of past Christmas holidays come flooding through your mind?  This very aromatic season is an easy way to describe the phenomenon of scent and memory.

The process of smelling is a thing of beauty.  Smell is a chemical sense detected by sensory cells called chemoreceptors in the nose that detect smell and pass on electrical impulses to the brain.  The brain then interprets patterns in electrical activity as specific odors and olfactory sensation becomes perception – we recognize this as smell.  The only other chemical system that can quickly identify, make sense of and memorize new molecules is the immune system (Sarah Dowdy, How Stuff Works).

Gratefully reprinted with permission from my good friend Pat Faust, Gerontologist – and her blog “My Boomer Brain”

Spice and Inflammation

sweet potatoes

Linda Baier of Isaiah’s Way Nutrition has made my post extremely easy this week – I’m just copying her info to pass along to you!

 Inflammation is a key contributor to heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and joint pain, so reducing inflammation is important to your health. According to a study cited in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, the herbs and spices that best reduce or suppress inflammation and protect against DNA damage are: • Cloves  • Ginger  • Rosemary  • Turmeric  • Paprika  • Sage  • Cumin.

Of all the spices listed above, turmeric is a health superstar! That’s because it contains curcumin, an antioxidant compound found in the root of the turmeric plant. Years of studies continue to show that turmeric helps to: • Protect brain function  • Reduce the risk of memory loss  • Aid digestive and cardiovascular health  • Improve the immune system  • Prevent the growth of certain cancer cells  • Improve liver function (your body’s natural detoxifier.)  • Reduce cholesterol level  • Reduce joint pain and improve flexibility (especially in arthritis sufferers)  • Serve as a natural antibiotic, inhibiting the growth of bacteria.   What’s the best way to get all the health benefits of turmeric? Scientists note that combining black pepper with turmeric increases the amount of curcumin your body can absorb. (India and Thai recipes often contain both!) So mix the two spices when you’re cooking with turmeric!  Lula’s for Lunch…and More! Catering uses all of these spices copiously, not only because they’re so good for you but because they enhance the flavor of so many foods so beautifully!  One example is our Sweet Potato and Kale Salad with Bulgar.  Bask in the deliciousness and vibrancy of this healthful dish!