Spices are a delicious way of adding a sumptuous richness to many recipes. Could there be more to these tasty spices and herbs than meets the tongue? Research is now showing that many of the world’s most commonly-used spices are also chock full of health-promoting antioxidants. While most people commonly think of pomegranates, berries and leafy greens as holding the most antioxidants, knowing that spices have antioxidant levels comparable to many popular “super foods” will allow us to season our foods with more awareness. This article offers a “best of” list of the world’s healthiest antioxidant spices, as well as some quick ideas on how to incorporate them into your next meal.
The Best Antioxidant Super Spices for Improving Your Health
Cinnamon– Quite possibly the world’s most powerful antioxidant spice, cinnamon’s unique protective properties stem from the essential oils found in its bark. Cinnamon inhibits unhealthy clumping of blood platelets, lessens inflammation, and acts as an “anti-microbial” food.
Even when our food choices aren’t the best, herbs and spices do more than just improve taste. They give any meal a nutrition boost. And according to a new study they may even reverse the damage from an unhealthy meal.
Researchers from Penn State University cooked up coconut chicken, cheese bread and a dessert biscuit for six men. The subjects were aged 30 to 65 and overweight but otherwise healthy. On one day the meal was served plain. On another day researchers added two tablespoons of a blend of nine herbs and spices to the meal.
After each meal the researchers drew blood from the subjects every 30 minutes for four hours. They found that antioxidant activity in the blood increased 13% after the spicy meal compared to the plain meal.
The spices and herbs also decreased post-meal insulin levels by 21% and triglyceride levels in the blood by as much as 31%. That in turn could reduce heart disease risk.
Herbs and cooking spices contain a wide variety of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, and help maximize the nutrient density of your meals. Every time you flavor your meals with herbs or spices you are literally “upgrading” your food without adding a single calorie.
In fact, on a per gram fresh weight basis, herbs rank even higher in antioxidant activity than fruits and vegetables, which are known to be high in antioxidants. Many studies have also shown that most spices tend to have unique medicinal qualities.
In the featured study,1 researchers from three Universities devised an experiment to evaluate the “true world” benefits of herbs and spices, by feeding them to people in quantities that are typically consumed simply by spicing up your meals. As noted by Dr. Michael Greger MD, who produced the video above:2(more…)
The term “allspice” was coined in the 1600s by the English, who thought the herb combined the flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Allspice is also referred to as “Jamaica pepper,” “kurundu,” “myrtle pepper,” “pimenta,” and “newspice.” Ground allspice is not a mixture of spices as some still believe, but arises from the dried unripe berries of the tree Pimenta dioica. This tree is native to the Greater Antilles, southern Mexico, and Central America. Today, P. dioica is cultivated in many warm areas throughout the world. Allspice is also available commercially as an essential oil.
Allspice possesses antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antipyretic, anticancer, and antitumorigenic properties (Rompelberg et al. 1996; Al-Rehaily et al. 2002; Kluth et al. 2007). It contains a multitude of potential bioactive agents that may contribute to health promotion, including flavonoids, phenolic acids, catechins, and several phenylpropanoids.
The anticancer properties of allspice may be in part due to its ability to influence cytochrome P450 (CYP) activity and thereby influence carcinogen bioactivation. Kluth et al. (2007) cultured human liver carcinoma cells and human colon adenocarcinoma cells and studied the ability of the spice extract to activate mechanisms related to detoxification enzymes.
Believe it or not, but when the opposition in question is an adamant disease like cancer, everything you need to prevent or treat it is right inside your spice cabinet. These are not just dried seeds, fruits, roots, barks or any other plant-based substances to add flavor to our foods, but they double as anti-cancer agents. More than 180 spice-derived compounds have been identified and explored for their health benefits It is beyond the scope of this article to deal with all herbs and spices that may influence the risk of cancer and tumor behavior, but we’ve highlighted 18 of the most powerful.
Carrying the spirit of defeating a disease often labelled ‘incurable’ through conventional treatment, typically manifests through dietary strategies when mainstream options fail. A selection of spices can avert the multiplying of malignant cells in the body that gradually mature into insurmountable cancer cells. (more…)
So you want to grow herbs for cooking and for medicinal use, but you’ve got a small space to grow them in. Maybe you’re in an apartment and you only have a back deck or a kitchen window. No problem! Just grow 5 basic herbs, and you’ll be set! Here’s a list of what to grow & what they’re good for. (more…)
Herbs and spices do more than make food taste great. Recent research is showing that the common herbs and spices you probably have in your kitchen can reduce signs of aging, inhibit degenerative disease, and promote health and wellbeing. The Mediterranean diet, so often associated with good health and lack of disease, relies heavily on the use of spices. But you don’t have to follow the Mediterranean way of eating to gain the amazing health benefits these inexpensive flavor boosters have to offer. (more…)
When the opposition in question is an adamant disease like cancer, our armoury should be packed with a healthy lifestyle and a diet including foods that double as anti-cancer agents. Look no further than Indian spices to add incredible flavor to your food and prevent cancer.
When actress Lisa Ray was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a relatively rare cancer of the bone marrow, all she said was, “I’ll beat cancer”. Carrying this spirit of defeating a disease often labelled ‘incurable’, we try to find out diet methods, especially in the selection of spices that can avert the multiplying of malignant cells in the body that gradually mature into insurmountable cancer cells. (more…)
We tend to look to God as a source of all healing. It is said that He has provided all that we will ever need:
“the fruit of it shall be for eating and leaf of it for healing…” (Ezekiel 47:12)
Herbs are a wondrous thing. They not only assist in flavoring dishes and filling the air with delightful aromas, but they also hold medicinal properties that promote healing. Those of you who have herbal gardens of your own, no doubt have a few of these herbal friends already planted. Many of the plants listed below are also listed in my Top 10 Medicinal Herbs that should be in every garden. However, it seems that there are a few more worth mentioning. (more…)