vitamins and minerals

Small Wonders – Antioxidant Herbs and Spices

When we add small amounts of herbs, spices, and other seasonings to our food, we’re usually just looking to make it taste better. What we may not know is that we add powerful health benefits as well as taste.

Many of our favorite herbs and spices have powerful health properties, such as:

antibiotic and antisepticthus protecting us from bacteria, fungi and parasites

anti-inflammatory thereby protecting heart health and relieving arthritis.

antioxidantprotecting us from the ravages of free radicals.

A cooking lesson with herbs and spices

Let’s whip up a pot of chili, bake a pumpkin pie, and finish with a cup of peppermint tea.

We’re really going to season this chili with all of the following ingredients:

chili powder The active ingredient in chili peppers is capsaicin. Chilli powder is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. It is claimed to be an appetite suppressant (hint, hint) and cancer fighter.

Garlic contains organosulfur compounds and the antibiotic, allicin. It is antioxidant and antibiotic. It reduces cholesterol, thins the blood. It can fight cancer when combined with tomatoes. (Lots of great recipe ideas here.)

Onions protect against infection, boost immune system health, normalize cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

Rosemary contains camosol and rosarinic acid. It can fight breast, lung and skin cancer. Use it when grilling meat to reduce the formation of carcinogens, heterocyclic amines. (The pine flavor of rosemary is good for stuffing.)

Turmeric contains a powerful phytochemical, curcimin. It is a cancer fighter, turning off proteins that cause cells to grow, causing cancer cells to self-destruct. It may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, psoriasis and arthritis. (If you like Indian food, curry powder contains turmeric.)

The active principles of Oregano are quercertin and rosmarinic acids, powerful antioxidants protecting against breast, ovarian and endometrial cancers.

Cumin is an antioxidant that lowers blood cholesterol levels. It may protect against stomach ulcers and gastric cancer by killing H. pylori bacteria.

(Add it to Mexican foods, meats, scrambled eggs.)

It’s time to make a pumpkin pie. See what spices can do for you.

Cinnamon is antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. It relieves arthritis, improves blood sugar, lowers cholesterol, is a blood thinner and aids digestion. Wow! (Add cinnamon to coffee grounds for a morning treat. Add it to oatmeal with blueberries and skim or soy milk for an energy breakfast.)

Nutmeg lowers cholesterol, increases circulation, joint pain, gout and indigestion.

Cloves are anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antioxidant, helping to relieve asthma, bronchitis and muscle aches, and eliminating parasites, fungi and bacteria.

Ginger relieves intestinal gas, morning sickness and strengthens the immune system.

Would you like a spot of peppermint tea to finish things off?

Pepper mint soothes the digestive tract, relieves symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and protects against cancer.

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