Existing evidence suggests that the consumption of spiced food has a beneficial outcome on human health, raising the possibility that natural selection acted to favor humans that like and consume spiced food. Regardless of whether people have been conscious of this benefit or not, they have sought to acquire spices to use in preparing their food. Consequently, when certain spices growing in the Far East were in short supply, with high demand in the more temperate zones of the world, such as Europe, their prices in these markets were high. The opportunity and desire to make enormous profits in the spice trade played a large role in the development, starting in the 15th century, of maritime trade routes and the subsequent establishment of world empires by several European countries. The roots of much of the geopolitical conditions prevailing around the world today can be traced to this Age of Exploration, which was fundamentally about the spice trade.