Spices And Herbs For Health Featured

Authors: Registered Dietitians

Fresh Basil

(HealthCastle.com) Antioxidants are a buzz word in preventative nutrition for their role in helping to reduce the risk for chronic diseases. Most people are able to identify fruits and vegetables as great sources of antioxidants, however, an often overlooked source is found in everyday herbs and spices. Their impact can easily be underestimated because only small amounts are used in cooking but consider this: 2.5 ml (1/2 tsp) of oregano contains more antioxidants than 125ml (1/2 cup) of red grapes!

Did you know that this ancient spice is taken from the inner bark of tropical trees? (only recently on a trip to a spice farm in Bali did this tidbit become known to myself).

Try adding 1.2ml (1/4 tsp) to your ground coffee before brewing. Not only will it add an aromatic boost, it will increase the total antioxidant content of your morning cup of joe (coffee is already a very rich source of antioxidants and it's calorie free).

Traditionally used in Indian and Asian cooking, this spice is derived from ginger root and is fairly versatile.fresh ginger

Sprinkle some on fresh or low-sugar canned fruit for an extra kick. It's a great addition to cooked root vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, acorn or butternut squash. Ginger is a great way to add a little heat.

It has a sweet, fresh, pinewood-like aroma. A natural companion to stews, roasts, meats and salads. As a member of the mint family, rosemary originates from the Mediterranean.

Cayenne Pepper
To add some fiery punch to any dish, look no further. Capsaicin is the compound that gives peppers their heat.

Somewhat paradoxically, the hotter the pepper (more capsaicin), the better it's for you as the degree of heat also reflects the antioxidant content. Sprinkle it on anything where you want a little extra kick.

One of the most popular herbs used in cooking today. Common in both Italian and Mediterannean cooking, add basil to tomatoes or to salads. It adds a great lightly sweet flavour and really enhances the natural flavour of vegetables.

ground turmeric

An essential ingredient of yellow curry powders, turmeric is probably best known as a source of antioxidants. Research supports its role in helping to reduce inflammation.

Take tomato soup to a new level with a sprinkling, or over cooked potatoes. Mixing some into yogurt makes for a great spicy marinade for salmon or as a great base for a nutritious vegetable dip.


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