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Ethnic food often spicier and healthier

June 29, 2012 at 1:19 AM   |   Comments

LAS VEGAS, June 29 (UPI) -- U.S. adults are choosing more ethnic foods and ingredients that not only offer unique flavor and texture, but a variety of health benefits, a researcher says.

"Very authentic and regional cuisines are becoming very popular," Janet Carver, senior culinary team leader at Ingredion Inc., said in a statement. "Not just Chinese, but Thai, Korean, and foods from other countries and regions."

Many television food shows and competitions reflect the trend, as they increasingly highlight fusion or "global mash up" cooking, which use the ingredients of many cultures and regions, Carver said.

"Ethnic foods and ingredients offer powerful, distinct flavors, as well as unique nutritional and health benefits," Carver said. "Everyone wants to enjoy their food; they also want it to be flavorful and healthy."

Diego Serrano, director of product development at McCormick & Co., said ethnic cooking can deliver more than 2 grams of spices and herbs per serving.

"Studies increasingly support health benefits of different spices that are often found in ethnic cuisine," Serrano said.

For example, he said Indian food typically contains twice as many spices as usual American fare.

A Journal of Pain study reported that ginger reduced muscle pain and soreness; cinnamon might help maintain healthy blood sugar levels; turmeric, ginger and garlic might block fat absorption and oregano has as many antioxidants as three cups of spinach, Carver said.

The findings were presented at the Institute of Food Technologists's annual meeting and food expo in Las Vegas.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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