As a society, we are becoming increasingly aware of the herbs. We are starting to use more fresh herbs in our cooking, and for medicinal purposes, including the improvement or protection of our mental health. Have you enjoyed an herbal tea lately in order to help you relax or to calm your nerves? You may not realize just how beneficial that cup of herbal tea actually was. A study published in January, 2010, in the Nutrition Journal , found that herbs and spices are the best source of antioxidants of any other food that is available – and over 3000 different foods were tested for the purposes of that study. It’s time to give some weight to the true antioxidant power of herbs.
Herbs Are Not Just for Flavor
We’ve been using herbs for flavor when we prepare meals and dishes for centuries. Our long past ancestors most likely knew the health benefits and the healing power of the herbs that were used, but in modern times, we really didn’t think in those terms. Instead, we thought in terms of flavor for foods that we eat. Herbs are not just for flavor anymore, and in reality, they never have been. Every time you use a beneficial herb to flavor your food, you are getting health benefits from that herb – even if you are not using the herb for that purpose.
Unfortunately, in our hurried lives, we pay very little attention to ourselves – our bodies and our minds – in terms of how we feel. You may acknowledge that you feel better today than you have felt in a long time, without realizing or even wondering why that is. It could very well be that you’ve eaten a food that contained a highly beneficial herb or spice that helped to alleviate some sort of imbalance without you realizing it was happening. Unfortunately, because you didn’t wonder why you felt better today, the chances are good that it will be a while before you consume that specific herb or spice again, which means it may be that long before you feel this good again as well. Few people take the time to pay close attention to what they are eating, and how they are feeling in relation to what they are eating, but it may be something you want to consider for a while – especially when it comes to the consumption of herbs and spices.
According to the Agricultural Research Service, a division of the United States Department of Agriculture, herbs have more antioxidant power than fruits, vegetables, or even berries, which are often touted as the best source of antioxidants. In a study concerning the antioxidant power of herbs, there were 27 culinary herbs and 12 medicinal herbs included.
The study found that among all of the herbs tested, oregano is the best in terms of antioxidants, and the antioxidant power of three types of oregano were even greater than vitamin E. The three types of oregano that won that particular contest were Mexican, Greek Mountain, and Italian. Other winners among all of the herbs tested were sweet bay, dill, purple amaranth, winter savory, and rose geranium.
When it comes to how your body and mind may benefit from herbs, the benefits are far too vast to count or to list. When it comes to antioxidant power of herbs, however, we can be very specific when it comes to benefits that are to be derived.
The antioxidant benefits include less swelling and inflammation, even when an injury occurs. Antioxidant properties can also help to fight off many cancers. According to Home Herb Gardener , additional benefits to be derived from antioxidant herbs include fighting obesity, dementia, regulating blood sugar levels, calming frayed nerves, increasing alertness, fighting off fungal and bacterial infections, strengthening the heart, lowering the blood pressure, balancing moods which will ward off depression and anxiety, and of course vastly boosting the immune system.
The Best Antioxidant Herbs
According to NBC New York , there are certain herbs that you should pay closer attention to, and consume more of. These include Ginger, Oregano, Cinnamon, Turmeric, and Chili Peppers.
Ginger is useful as an anti-inflammatory. It also aids in digestion and can settle an upset stomach. Ginger is also useful for the treatment of migraine headaches, especially when taken at the beginning of the headache. Oregano is touted to be one of the best antioxidant herbs in existence. This beneficial herb reduces inflammation that is related to heart disease, and helps to fight off bacterial infections.
Cinnamon, which is often considered to be a sugary food, can actually help to control blood sugar. Cinnamon also helps with fatigue, anxiety, frustration, and it can make you more alert. Turmeric is an anti inflammatory and antioxidant. It is considered to be a natural pain reliever to some degree. Chili Peppers are a great antioxidant, and many believe that it has anti cancer properties as well, since it inhibits the growth of cells and metastasis.