Since 90% of Americans' resolutions have to do with weight loss, I thought I would share with you some interesting information from the McCormick Science Institute website. There is quite a bit of global research going on regarding the use of spices and herbs and the positive impact they can have on the body. Such impacts involve providing the body with antioxidants, preventing inflammation, improving heart health, controlling diabetes, improving diet quality and weight management.
The following is an excerpt from the weight management research page of the website highlighting the research of fenugreek seed fiber and saffron and its impact on body weight.
Several pilot and clinical trials in humans have demonstrated the effect of spices or spice extracts to reduce fat intake, increase satiety, affect metabolism, and/or help manage blood glucose concentrations. A crossover pilot study found that when healthy, obese subjects aged 18 to 65 consumed fenugreek seed fiber (8 grams) with breakfast, they had increased satiety and lowered food intake (at a buffet lunch) compared to when they consumed no fenugreek fiber at breakfast. (16). A small clinical trial found that when healthy, overweight, French males consumed fenugreek seed extract for six weeks, they had lower blood glucose levels and fat intake compared to those who did not consumer the fenugreek seed extract (17). Another clinical trial showed that overweight French women who consumed saffron extract for eight weeks reduced both body weight and snacking frequency (18).
Go to the website to find all kinds of interesting facts and figures you can share with your students regarding weight and its maintenance. An additional source of information is the Center Disease Control web page http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/overwt.htm
An activity and lab idea for your classroom might be to play the spice game, where each student guesses the seasoning in each jar (set activity), research a seasoning of their choice (its origin, structure, flavor, common uses, recipes, its purchasing forms and costs, how to store and prepare it, and the impact it has on health). Then have the students plan a lab and a budget using their seasoning. This could be an actual lab, a home lab, a written report or PowerPoint presentation. This could also be a great activity for a guest teacher to do with your students as long as the students have computer access.