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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Simple Kitchen Spices That Boost Immunity

Do you want to boost your immune system,  improve your defense against aging, and have a stronger defense against exposure to the harmful affects of environmental pollution, chemicals in foods, and stress?

Herbs like oregano, dill, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and mint can boost the health value of your meals with protective antioxidants ! ( I grow all of those herbs in little pots on my patio and use them in my cooking)

It is hard to believe, but according to extensive research done at the USDA's Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, fresh oregano leads the herbs with 42 times the antioxidant activity of apples, 12 times the antioxidant activity of oranges, and  4 times the antioxidant activity of blueberries.

That means that one tablespoon of fresh oregano provides the same antioxidant activity as a small fresh apple. Adding fresh grown herbs to your salads, omelettes, soups, etc. can help boost your antioxidant activity and  immunity.

Why is antioxidant activity important to your good health?

Antioxidants fight free radicals! Fights aging

Exposure to stress, pollutants, smoke, chemicals, radiation, toxins, pesticides, allergies, etc. triggers the production of free radicals in our bodies, which damage the cells and tissues of our body. We become like a car that is rusting. The damage done to our bodies by free radicals contributes to almost all diseases including heart disease, arthritis, autoimmune disorders, cancer and even cataracts.

Antioxidants, which are plentiful in fruits,vegetables, nuts, seed, and spices, help protect us against the continuous damage done by free radicals ( Lester Packer- PH.D. Univ of California Research) . In the past thirty years there has been extensive research on the benefits of antioxidants. Even the researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture state,  "antioxidants could provide potential anti-cancer benefits when supplementing a balanced diet."

Since small amounts of herbs and spices provide high antioxidant protection, doesn't it make sense to make an effort to include more of them in your food ?

Fresh Oregano, rosemary, dill, thyme and mint are the strongest of the herbs in antioxidant value. And of course, the fresher the herb, the more potent the antioxidants.  Spices like turmeric, cumin, cilantro, and basil provide other important nutrients as well. And fruits and vegetables contain other vitamins and minerals in addition to antioxidants, so keep eating them ( organic and GMO free are the best)

Herbs are easy to grow on your windowsill, deck, or garden
This past spring, I planted fresh herbs in little pots and  grew them on my patio ledge all summer. Last year, my May 28 blog post had pictures of all my adorable herbs and some recipes using fresh herbs. Read my post How to Grow Herbs on Your Windowsill

It was my first time planting window herbs, and I chose a small pot each of oregano, rosemary, thyme, sage, basil, dill, cilantro, basil, and stevia. I had to ask friends to water while I was on vacation, but it in mid September  I was still enjoying the health giving benefits and great taste of my prolific fresh herbs.
The dill and cilantro gave up when the weather got really hot, but everything else was still  producing

I snip herbs for salads,salad dressings, soups, roasted vegetables. I bought some ripe organic tomatoes from a local farm, and yesterday I made a huge bowl of tomato, red onion, and fresh basil salad with lemon and oil dressing and sprinkled with cumin.
I also use the fresh herbs in omelets, Caprese salad, etc.
In addition, I dried, crumbled, and stored some of the herbs for winter use.
I didn't use the stevia, but I will dry some to use in tea for the winter.

Fresh herbs are so easy to grow and are potent antioxidant providers. I encourage you to plant some this  spring.

Why are fresh herbs that you grow more nutritious than the ones you buy already cut in the supermarket?
The fresh herbs retain all the nutrients, antioxidants, and minerals right up until the minute you cut them. Store bought produce begins to lose some of its nutrient value after its is cut and sits.

Antioxidants: Most people don't realize that herbs have been used for thousands of years and add powerful antioxidants to all of your meals.

Oregano-: Add to pizza, Italian recipes, etc.

Rosemary: Rosemary roasted potatoes, meat dishes

Thyme: Add to recipes using cooked tomatoes, soups, 

Parsley:  Add fresh to salads,  potato salad, Soups, pasta salads,  

Cilantro:  Add to salads, tomato dishes, Mexican recipes, Middle Eastern recipes 

Basil : Good with tomatoes, eggplant, pepper, caprese salad,

shared on  Wildcrafting Wednesday 

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. The information in this blog is for educational purposes only.  Always check with your doctor before making any changes or adding any new foods, supplements, or herbs to your diet.

1 comment:

  1. Found you on Best of Blogosphere

    QUES: My rosemary plant is not looking too well.
    It's a bit yellow. Any tips?


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