A Comparison of the Nutritional Contribution of Thirty-nine Aromatic Plants used as Condiments and/or Herbal Infusions

Abstract

Aromatic plants have been used worldwide in human diet to improve the flavor and taste of meals or as herbal infusions. Beyond the culinary purposes, these plants are also used for their medicinal purposes, as antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic and anti-carcinogenic, among others. In the present study, 39 species of condiments and/or herbal infusions were assessed in order to provide scientific information concerning their nutritional value and energetic contribution; furthermore, the fatty acids composition was also evaluated. Carbohydrates were the most abundant compounds in the condiments that also revealed a varied range of sugars with fructose, glucose, sucrose and trehalose detected in all the condiments. In respect to fatty acids, PUFA were prevalent with the great contribution of linoleic and α-linolenic acids among the different 32 detected fatty acids. The herbal infusions revealed low quantities of sugars with most of the plants revealing fructose, glucose and sucrose. In a general way, the energetic value of the condiments and herbal infusions was very low and these plants revealed good nutritional properties that make them suitable for a balanced and diversified low caloric diet. The results obtained in the present systematization study will allow the readers to perform easy and quick comparisons among these different aromatic plants regarding nutritional purposes.

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The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Isabel C. F. R. Ferreira.

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Pereira, C., Barros, L. & Ferreira, I.C.F.R. A Comparison of the Nutritional Contribution of Thirty-nine Aromatic Plants used as Condiments and/or Herbal Infusions. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 70, 176–183 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11130-015-0476-7

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Keywords

  • Aromatic plants
  • Condiments/Herbal infusions
  • Macronutrients
  • Energetic contribution
  • Nutritional database