·Curry is New Zealand’s 3rd
favourite meal after roast and steak.
·Spices have antibacterial
effects - it is thought they have helped with food safety for centuries,
especially in the tropics where the risk of food poisoning is higher.
·Chillies aren’t spicy for our
enjoyment! The spiciness is caused by a chemical called capsaicin which they
contain to stop animals eating them.
·Capsaicin is an irritant which
is why it stings the tongue.
·Spicy foods including chilli,
pepper, some tea, caffeine, garlic and ginger can all increase metabolism
·In some cases spicy foods
decrease the craving for sweet foods.
·Eating chilli doesn’t raise
your temperature - capsaicin binds to the heat receptors in your tongue which
send a message to the brain to say that you’re hot even though you aren’t.
·Capsaicin dissolves in fat so
milk can neutralise capsaicin which soothes the mouth.
·Garlic is found in many
different kinds of curry. It is traditionally thought to help with illness.
·Garlic can help prevent heart
disease, reduce blood pressure and may have protective effects against renal
and colorectal cancers.
·There are rumours that garlic
imported from China has been bleached. The Ministry for Primary Industries has
said that bleaching agents for garlic are permitted by the food standards code,
but won’t be active when the food is ready to eat.
·The vast majority of ginger in
New Zealand is imported from Thailand.
·In 2009, the Ministry for
Primary Industries tested imported ginger and found residues of one pesticide,
carbendazim which exceeded the limit, however they say it is of no concern.
·Some chemicals in ginger have
structures similar to paracetamol and asprin and they have a pain killing
·Ginger can be helpful for
morning sickness but is also often sold to people for motion sickness.
·Our Human Experiment found that
ginger helped prevent motion sickness better than nothing or a placebo.
·Turmeric has many health
benefits including preventative effects on cancer and benefits for Alzheimer’s
·Drying spices can make them
lose some of their goodness if they are left dried for a long time. It’s best
to use spices by the time their ‘Best Before’ date is up.
·Dried spices are treated to
remove pests before they are imported into New Zealand.
·In some cases, this is done by
a treatment called irradiation that involves ionising rays passing through the
·The risk of irradiation on the
consumer is very small. Food does not become radioactive. However, irradiation
may change the taste of the food.
·Spices that have been
irradiated must be clearly labelled.
·A lot of components in curry
act synergistically so its combinations of food and spices may be more
beneficial to your health than any of them by themselves.
·A study has been done which shows
that turmeric and cauliflower has benefits for types of cancer.
·Coconut milk adds flavour to
chilli and the fat it contains helps offset the spiciness of chilli.
·Coconut milk is usually made by
shredding the flesh of the coconut and pressing it.
·Coconut milk is high in
·A 2005 survey found coconut
cream had a higher level of bisphenol A than any other food.
·Bisphenol A is known as an
endocrine disruptor, which may have negative effects on hormone levels in the
·Bisphenol A gets into coconut
milk from the lining of the can as it is fat soluble.