(You may have read my interview with Dr. Aggarwal, a biochemistry professor at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston who became famous for his research on turmeric/curcumin.)
He uses a broad definition of spices. For example, almonds and coconuts are covered in addition to seeds and grounded dried plants that we all call "spices."
What I really like is the clear and concise voice he and his co-author Ms. Deborah Yost use, and how they cite research studies for health claims associated with each spice (and food) in the book.
Some information (such as the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric, which we have covered at HealthyIndianDiet.com before) you will already know. But I'm sure you will learn many new things. Among the little nuggets of knowledge I gained were:
1. Thymoquinone, an antioxidant unique to black cumin (not the same as cumin), appears to fight prostate and pancreatic cancer cells in a laboratory. Link to the study.
2. Research published in prominent journals like Diabetes Care demonstrate that having cinnamon in your meal daily can help people who have diabetes control their blood sugar levels better. Link to the study.
3. Coconut oil, though full of saturated fats, is made mostly of medium chain fatty acids. A Brazilian study on women showed that regularly consuming coconut oil helped them lose some abdominal body fat (which is the worst kind for chronic disease). Link to the study.
4. People with ischemic coronary heart disease who drank pomegranate juice for a year improved the blood flow to their heart in a study done at UC-San Francisco. Link to the study.
There's more to learn in "Healing Spices" (and many recipes incorporating spices, too), and while I'm skeptical of studies done in labs or on animals, there are several studies Dr. Aggarwal's book highlights which have been done on people that show many spices, herbs, and fruits have a positive effect on people's health.
So if you're interested in learning more about how what we eat affects our well-being, you must read this book! If you have read "Healing Spices" before, let us know how you liked it by leaving a comment or shooting us an email.