Used since ancient times to add flavour to foods, herbs and spices are also packed with health benefits. Some popular herbs are an abundant source of natural antioxidants, compounds that play an important role in neutralizing free radicals. In fact, the total phenolic contents of these herbs are rated higher than those reported for berries, fruits and vegetables. (source)
When we think about foods high in antioxidants, berries tend to be at the forefront but how about herbs such as basil or parsley? Basil has 7 x the antioxidants of blueberries and 15 x that of goji berries. Cloves have a whopping 32 x more than blueberries and 72 x more than goji berries. I am not suggesting that you should eat a spoon full of cloves every day however incorporating then into your regular diet is healthy idea!
Why Antioxidants Matter
According to Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DMN, CNS , antioxidant sources, such as foods, herbs, spices and teas high in antioxidants reduce the effects of free radicals (oxidative damage/stress). Free radicals are naturally produced by our bodies to help fight off viruses and other health-inhibiting invaders. Unfortunately they also occur in our environment via things such as air pollution, smoke and alcohol. These excess free radicals can cause an unhealthy build-up in our systems. Oxidant overload can lead to accelerated ageing, weakened immunity, and cellular damage. Some of the leading health problems facing us today such as heart disease, cancer and dementia have been linked to increased levels of oxidative damage. This is where a diet that incorporates foods high in antioxidants comes into play. We can combat these detrimental effects through our diet and consumption of foods high in antioxidants. (source)
Top 10 High Antioxidant Herbs & Spices
The following items sit high up on the list of high antioxidant foods. ORAC scores stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. According to the numbers, these herbs and spices contain high concentrations of antioxidants. (source)
Clove:314,446 ORAC score
Cinnamon: 267,537 ORAC score
Oregano: 159,277 ORAC score
Turmeric: 102,700 ORAC score
Cocoa: 80,933 ORAC score
Cumin: 76,800 ORAC score
Parsley (dried): 74,349 ORAC score
Basil: 67,553 ORAC score
Ginger: 28,811 ORAC score
Thyme: 27,426 ORAC score
Other antioxidant-rich herbs also include garlic, cayenne pepper and green tea.
Supporting Good health never tasted so good!
This is really great news! It means that some of the most powerful antioxidant food sources are easily accessible. You might even already have a number of these items in your fridge, pantry or garden. You don’t need to take supplements to enjoy these benefits. The idea here is to incorporate a variety of herbs and spices into your daily diet through meals & beverages.
How Much Do I need?
According to this article, you should aim to consume at least two to three servings of these herbs or herbal teas daily. The ORAC scores above are based on weight. This means that is is not practical to eat high amounts of any one of these high antioxidant foods.
Variety is the spice of life
The age old adage “variety is the spice of life” is key to any healthy diet. Pick up some fresh herbs or grow your own! Go wild and stock up on organic spices and most importantly – start using them! Go ahead, start sprinkling cinnamon on your oatmeal, toss fresh herbs into your salads and use those herbs with reckless abandon. Not just for food, you can incorporate herbs and spices into hot and cold beverages as well. Add some antioxidant herbs and spices to your morning smoothie. Sip on turmeric spiked golden tea, infuse some cloves into your morning coffee or enjoy a nice hot cup of organic, free trade, cocoa. Incorporating high oxidant foods into our diets has never tasted better!
Walkerland.ca and its content is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All information shared on Walkerland.ca is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program.