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Podcast / Inside Food science
Podcast / Inside Food science

How can natural ingredients support immune health?

Health and wellbeing has become central to many of our lives with health-conscious consumers demanding natural products made with pure and simple ingredients. Immune health has garnered particular attention owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and the desire for people to choose functional foods that help support their immune system. Can natural ingredients support immune health?

The Caribbean has historically been a tropical haven for a range of plant-based or natural ingredients. It’s therefore no surprise that the region is seeing a surge in demand for these natural products. With increased demand, the question of sustainability becomes of paramount importance, not only in terms of preserving the quality and potency of the product during production, but also ensuring farmers and local communities are not compromised or marginalised but in fact benefit from the surge in demand.

In this podcast we hear from academics, food and drink industry experts and Caribbean exporters on the functional benefits of seamoss, more commonly known as Irish moss, turmeric, moringa, ginger and other natural products including gluten free flours and tropical fruit pulps and spices on what the Caribbean is doing to ensure sustainable practices and how indigenous communities are supported in meeting this growing trend for ingredients that support immune health.

Join an on-demand webinar to find out more about Caribbean ingredients.

About our panel

Natasha Edwin- Walcott, Senior Advisor, Competitiveness and Export Promotion Caribbean Export Development Agency

Natasha is a Trade Advisor with over 12 years’ experience in multilateral and regional trade policy. She is the Senior Advisor, Competitiveness and Export Promotion at Caribbean Export Development Agency where her role involves assisting SMEs to become more competitive, become export ready and take their products to market. She has worked at the OECS Trade Mission in Geneva Switzerland, advocating and defending OECS Member State interests before the World Trade Organisation, UNCTAD and other International Organisations. She is also a former employee of Invest Saint Lucia working in investment promotion. Natasha holds a BA in Politics and International Relations, an MA in Globalisation, Development and Transition both from the University of Westminster, UK, and a Post Graduate Certificate in International Management from the University of Liverpool. She is passionate about international affairs and economic development.

Ms Kareema Muncey, Owner and Managing Director, Home Choice Enterprise Ltd

Ms. Muncey is the owner and Managing Director of Home Choice Enterprise Ltd. She started the company 22 years ago from a bag on her back, selling her first and signature product of Home Choice, peppered shrimp. She never gave up on herself or faith in God and now Home Choice is an award-winning brand and Ms. Muncey is arguably an emerging voice for small businesses in the food manufacturing industry.

Dr Damian Cohall, Deputy Dean and a Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology, University of the West Indies

Dr. Damian Cohall is a Jamaican born pharmacologist who joined the Faculty of the Medical Sciences, The University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill in 2008. He is currently the Deputy Dean (Preclinical Sciences) and a Senior Lecturer in Pharmacology at the university and has profound research interests in Ethnopharmacology and Pharmacognosy. In 2014, he published a book through the UWI Press entitled “Medicinal Plants of Barbados for the Treatment of Communicable and Non-communicable Diseases”. Most recently, he co-authored the chapter “Pharmacodynamics -A Pharmacognosy Perspective” in a book entitled Pharmacognosy: Fundamentals and Strategy, Elsevier: In Press. He also maintains an active research interest in cardiovascular risk profiling and medical education, and has published successfully in those areas. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of the West Indian Medical Journal.

Umeeda Switlo, President, Naledo Belize Ltd.

Umeeda first went to Belize to volunteer with the Belizean government through CUSO International to share her business skills with youth. While in Belize, Umeeda traveled the country and met other people of Indian ancestry. She learned the story of how their ancestors had come to the country as indentured servants over 200 years ago. As they were sharing stories, of course cooking came up; one farmer showed her the turmeric that grew wild on his land. Their ancestors had brought the golden root with them! It was the most vivid orange and the best quality Umeeda had ever seen! After months of experimenting, she came up with the recipe for the world’s first wildcrafted, whole root turmeric paste – Truly Turmeric. We decided to build a social enterprise that would support growers to earn extra income, employ youth, improve health around the world, and produce products sustainably. Our company’s name comes from the district in Belize where our turmeric is sourced, Toledo and Nareena’s name… Na + ledo = Naledo. Embarrassing for her daughter, Nareena, proud mom bragging rights for Umeeda.

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