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Boost Flavors from Bland to Grand

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A well-stocked spice collection may help people enjoy healthier foods more often, according to a January study in the Journal of Food Science. Researchers found that broccoli, carrots, cauliflower and green beans drew a higher flavor rating when they were enhanced with herbs and spices than when they were unseasoned.

In a similar study published this month in the journal Food Quality and Preference, high-school students preferred their cafeteria’s lunch vegetables when they were gussied up with seasonings like dill and coriander. Moreover, University of Colorado researchers reported in the Journal of Food Science in February that people gleaned just as much pleasure from eating an apple crisp dessert that was low in sugar but enlivened with culinary spices as they did from a higher-sugar version that did not get a flavor boost from a spice like cinnamon. So, when teaching people the importance of striving for a more wholesome diet, it’s a good idea to tout the benefits of liberally seasoning food with spices to make it more desirable to the palate.

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Matthew Kadey, MS, RD

Matthew Kadey, MS, RD, is a James Beard Award–winning food journalist, dietitian and author of the cookbook Rocket Fuel: Power-Packed Food for Sport + Adventure (VeloPress 2016). He has written for dozens of magazines, including Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Shape, Men’s Fitness and Muscle and Fitness.

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