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Study Shows Herbs and Spices Can Counteract High Blood Sugar Effects

Standards for Seasonings and Blood-Glucose Monitors Help Consumers Manage Their Health and Wellness

New York, Aug 20, 2008

When it comes to seasoning the spaghetti sauce in tonight’s dinner, consider using a heavy hand with oregano and basil. A new study conducted by the University of Georgia indicates that spices and herbs may protect against certain consequences of high blood sugar.

By testing extracts from 24 common herbs and spices, researchers found that these seasonings contain high levels of phenols, which can counteract the effects of high blood sugar and inhibit the formation of compounds that are associated with aging and diabetes. In addition to being rich with antioxidants, herbs and spices also work to decrease the risk of cardiovascular damage, which can lead to heart disease.

The study authors note that various herbs and spices contain different kinds of phenols, so it is important to enjoy a wide variety of seasonings in order to have the greatest impact on one’s health.

Herbs and spices should be properly dried and stored in order to ensure the greatest health benefits and nutritional value, as well as to prevent food borne illness. ASTM International, an organizational member and audited designator of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), developed a standard that provides guidelines on herbs and spices for their safe ingestion. ASTM F1885-04, Standard Guide for Irradiation of Dried Spices, Herbs, and Vegetable Seasonings to Control Pathogens and Other Microorganisms covers procedures for irradiation of dried spices, herbs, and vegetable seasonings for microbiological control. The guidelines in this American National Standard apply to whole, ground, chopped, or other finely divided forms of herbs, including blends and spice mixes.

While eating plenty of herbs and spices is a great measure to fight the effects of high blood sugar, it’s also crucial to monitor blood sugar levels – especially for diabetics. ISO 15197:2003, In vitro diagnostic test systems - Requirements for blood-glucose monitoring systems for self-testing in managing diabetes mellitus outlines the performance requirements for self-testing blood glucose monitoring systems, ensuring that the tests diabetics conduct at home are accurate and reliable.

This standard was developed by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Technical Committee (TC) 212, Clinical laboratory testing and in vitro diagnostic test systems. The U.S. holds the chairmanship and the secretariat of this TC, with Dr. Donald Powers serving as chairman and the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CSLI) as secretariat. CSLI, an ANSI organizational member and accredited standards developer, is also the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) administrator to TC 212.

For more information on the health benefits of herbs and spices, see the University of Georgia news release.

For more information on preventing, monitoring, and controlling diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association website.

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