Food sustains the human body by delivering components to participate in its processes, systems, and composition. Aligning the study of food components to those of human systems enables a mechanistic understanding of the effects of foods.
The impact of food is complex in that it delivers multiple molecules that impact on these pathways at a number of different levels, and this effect is gradually being exposed with detailed mechanistic studies using food extracts.
Specific reference should be given to herbs and spices as a separate food category in dietary guidelines because
* a very high concentration of phenolics in herbs may increase the antioxidant capacity of the meal with just a few grams of the food.
* there is supportive evidence of mechanisms by which compounds in herbs and spices may afford protection against oxidative and inflammatory mechanisms.
* herbs and spices are plant foods, aligned to food groups such as fruits, vegetables, and seeds but are used differently in the culinary sense.