Antioxidant Spice Collection

Consuming these foods on a regular basis can reverse the signs of aging and to help prevent - and even reverse - various disease processes such as cancer and heart disease, plus reduce blood pressure. These nutritional powerhouses include: cinnamon, thyme, cumin, oregano, turmeric, rosemary, ginger, and chilies.

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We've all been told to eat foods that are rich in antioxidants for optimal health and wellness. But what are antioxidants? By definition, antioxidants such as vitamins A and C are substances that can help prevent the effects of free radical damage in the body. In other words, antioxidants can neutralize the process of oxidation and cellular damage which contributes to aging and disease.

Some foods are extremely high in antioxidant content. Consuming these foods on a regular basis can reverse the signs of aging and to help prevent - and even reverse – various disease processes such as cancer and heart disease, plus reduce blood pressure.

Research is now showing that six spices and two herbs we've long savored for their flavor are also nutritional powerhouses. Toss these overachievers into your salad or sauces and get a whopping dose of disease-preventing antioxidants along with a flavorful punch.

  1. Cinnamon: This natural germ-fighter also helps lower blood sugar, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels -- 1/4 teaspoon a day is a healthy goal. Sprinkle a little of the powder on freshly ground coffee beans when making your morning java.
  2. Thyme: By virtue of its minty, lemony flavor it's a natural accompaniment to grilled poultry, fish, and meat marinades. Contains anti-cancer potency and has long been used as an antiseptic -- yep, that could be thyme oil in your mouthwash. If you've got a fresh bunch, mince some into your vinaigrette.
  3. Cumin: Concealed in your humble chili powder is one of the world's most popular spices (it's a key ingredient in Indian curries too) and another anti-cancer soldier. Go exotic and add cumin to rice and grain salads and marinades.
  4. Oregano: Thank our GIs for bringing oregano home from Italy after WWII. A food world superpower, leaves of the herb boast 42 times more antioxidants than apples. Wow. Use oregano to add a delicate flavor to salad dressings, garlic bread, and omelets, as well as your favorite pastas.
  5. Turmeric: called the "Queen of the Kitchen" by Indian cooks, a powerful antioxidant (containing the active ingredient, curcumin) has earned its crown. Studies show promise in fighting cystic fibrosis, colon cancer, arthritis, and even Alzheimer's -- is there anything this golden gal can't do? For an earthy flavor and yellow coloring, add a pinch of turmeric to rice, stew, or lentils -- hey, it might even help you remember where you left your keys last night.
  6. Rosemary: contains powerful antioxidants, which some studies have shown to be as effective as synthetic preservatives BHA and BHT. It also protects the brain from oxidation and increases blood flow, two actions that may help prevent or slow the development of Alzheimer's. Rosemary has been shown to help kill bacteria that cause infection, which supports its traditional use as an antiseptic treatment for wounds.
  7. Ginger: contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may lower the risk of cancer and inflammatory disease. Its health-promoting constituents include gingerols, shogaols, beta-carotene, capsaicin, caffeic acid, curcumin and salicylate. While ginger has been used for a variety of ailments, some scientific evidence supports its potential for fighting nausea associated with pregnancy, motion sickness and post surgery.
  8. Chilies: contain antioxidants, including vitamin C and carotenoids, which might also help improve insulin regulation. The capsaicin in chilies are also being studied as an effective treatment for sensory nerve fiber disorders, including pain associated with arthritis, psoriasis, and diabetic neuropathy. Spicing your meals with chili peppers may also protect the fats in your blood from damage by free radicals—a first step in the development of atherosclerosis.