We all think that fruits and vegetables are excellent for promoting well-being, but most of us do not immediately consider herbs and spices when we imagine the foods we should consume for ideal health. The reality is that herbs and spices are packed with chemicals that promote health and have more antioxidants than most fruits and vegetables. Here are five herbs and spices that are especially good at defending against diseases.
The health benefits of rosemary are amazing. Studies have implicated rosemary as an anticancer compound, memory enhancer, mood enhancer, migraine killer, immune booster and digestive health enhancer. The most striking finding may be the ability of rosemary to prevent breast cancer. Research indicates that crude ethanolic extracts of rosemary can prevent the proliferation of breast cancer cells in the laboratory. In addition, rosmarinic acid, extracted from the leaves of Rosmarinus officinalis, has the ability to inhibit the expression of genes that increase the risk of developing tumors in multiple tissue types, including breast tissue. Say hello to Romero and goodbye to the expression of breast cancer genes.
Think anti-inflammatory when you think of ginger. Ginger contains multiple anti-inflammatory compounds, including gingerols, which have been found to possess anti-cancer properties and reduce the pains associated with osteoarthritis and sore muscles. Clinical trials indicate that 75% of patients with arthritis and 100% of patients with muscle pain felt relief of pain and swelling after squeezing ginger regularly. Another study found that mice fed ginger for five days before exposure to radiation prevented damage from free radicals to lipids. Ginger also reduced the depletion of animal glutathione stores, one of the most important antioxidants produced internally by the body. The anti-inflammatory compounds in ginger are immune system stimulants, so add ginger to your drinks and green foods and rejoice that you're helping your body stay in top shape.
This light and refreshing herb is full of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A and folic acid, all the vital nutrients for the prevention of diseases and the maintenance of cardiovascular health. Parsley is also a fighter against cancer. Studies indicate that myristicin, an organic compound found in parsley, not only has the ability to inhibit the formation of tumors that can lead to cancer, but also activates the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase, which helps fight the oxidative damage. All fighters of oxidative damage detoxify our cells and promote vitality.
Like rosemary, sage contains potent antioxidants that have been shown to prevent mental deterioration as we get older. Sage is a member of the mint family and is full of volatile oils, flavonoids and phenolic acids, all of which play a role in disease prevention. This nutrient-rich spice is also a source of anti-aging enzymes, such as superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase. These chemicals work together to provide unique health benefits that fight free radical damage, which in turn keeps our cells functioning optimally and prevents premature cell death. Preliminary studies suggest that sage can alleviate the early symptoms of Alzheimer's disease by preventing the destruction of acetylcholine, a brain chemical responsible for memory and learning.
Thyme was associated with courage in ancient Greece, which is a reason to like thyme, regardless of its health benefits. Leaving aside the Greek translation, thyme is a nutrient potency. Thyme contains thymol, carvacolo, borneol and geraniol, all volatile oils that protect and substantially increase the percentage of healthy fats found in cell membranes and other important cellular structures. In particular, the amount of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid critical for optimal brain function, increased after dietary supplementation with thyme. Thyme also contains a large amount of flavonoids that act as antioxidants, which helps slow down the aging process. This is a spice that will surely spice up your life and help you to keep looking and feeling young!
What are your Go-To spices and herbs at home?
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