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Our Spice Drawer=Natures Medicine

When most of us hear “eat foods high in antioxidants,” we think blueberries, kale and all other kinds of fruits and vegetable but what we don’t know, is that our spice drawer may also provide a variety of antioxidant rich flavor that we were unaware of. Turmeric, clove and oregano each have their own powerful punch of antioxidant rich characteristic’s in which a little bit goes a long ways. Just ½ teaspoon of cloves has the same antioxidant power, if not more, than ½ cup of blueberries and that teaspoon of oregano you find yourself adding to sauces and side dishes contains the same antioxidant power as an entire cup of sweet potatoes.

The use of herbs and spices is an easy way to accomplish the goal of getting antioxidants into our diets. Below we examine five herbs and spices that are each an excellent source of antioxidants and we’ll help you figure out how to use them and incorporate them into your healthy eating plan.

  1. Clove- native to Indonesia, cloves are derived from the dried flower buds of the evergreen clove tree. It has a distinctly strong flavor and aroma that lends itself to help create delicious zucchini bread and even aids in the flavoring power of Worcestershire sauce. Dried cloves contain polyphenolic compounds that contribute themselves to having antioxidant powers and have demonstrated an ability to inhibit oxidative processes. So how can you add this into your life? Simple, add it to applesauce, oatmeal, muffins, cookies or pancakes.
  2. Oregano– Coming from the dried leaves of a small perennial flowering shrub, oregano, also known as wild marjoram, is widely used in Mediterranean and Mexican cuisines.  Scientifically, it has shown to be rich in thymol and rosmarinic acid (phytochemicals) along with vitamin E. When compared to other herbs such as thyme, sage, rosemary or basil, oregano fell into first place with the highest total antioxidant capacity.  Other than your typical pizza or spaghetti sauce, it can be used to flavor up sandwiches, casseroles, salad dressings or even scrambled eggs.
  3. Ginger- Historically used to treat everything from the common cold to motion sickness and gastrointestinal ailments, ginger provides several health benefits. It may protect tissues and organs against oxidative damage and prevent cancer development and growth. To add a little spice to your life, try small amounts of ginger in smoothies, tea, cereals or yogurt. It can also add a flavorful kick to sautéed vegetables, salad dressings, sweet potatoes or marinades.
  4. Cinnamon– As one of the first known spices, cinnamon is simple. It comes from the inner bark of various evergreen trees and it stripped and placed in the sun to dry. The antioxidant component of cinnamon is cinnamaldehyde and it is found to have the most potent antioxidant effects of all the spices. As you may know, cinnamon is extremely versatile and widely used. Add it to oatmeal, yogurt, cereal, quinoa, barley salad or add a special kick to your apples and peanut butter or even your toast.
  5. Turmeric– Also often heard of as curcumin, turmeric is characteristic of many Indian dishes, especially curry.  It originates from the root of a plant and is noted for it’s bright yellow color and distinctive flavor. It is often used in prepared mustards, pickles, relish, chutneys and rice. For personal use, it can be added to any vegetable dish, particularly roasted cauliflower, or cous cous salad. Use caution when added because a little bit goes a long ways and it is best if added to dishes while cooking.  Turmeric is known for it’s polyphenol compounds and it’s potential ability to avert chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease and arthritis. Some research has even shown positive outcomes with Alzheimer’s disease. Curcumin is also been shown to inhibit the activity of the specific gene that leads to the development and the progression of breast cancer.

Hopefully, we have all gathered some useful information from this and will all start to see our spice collection as nature’s medicine.


One Comment

  1. Sep 29, 2014
    3:11 pm

    Donna Wolf

    Thank you for your praise & comments

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