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Herbs and Antioxidants

New research reveals a new way to get all the antioxidants you need without loading up on fruits and vegetables or popping a lot of pills. In fact, you can get even more antioxidants this new way - just by adding more flavor to the foods you love.  According to a recent study, many of the herbs used in cooking have more antioxidant power than fruits and vegetables. MUCH more, in fact.

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Spice up your meals - and defeat free radicals at the same time!

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The study, which was conducted at the U.S Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Center in Beltsville, MD, measured the phenolic content and antioxidant activity of 27 culinary herbs and 12 medicinal herbs under laboratory conditions. The medicinal herbs faired well; familiar names like periwinkle, gingko biloba, garden sage, St.John's Wort, valerian, and sweet Annie all showed significant antioxidant content. But the fresh culinary herbs blew them away. And guess which was the leader of the pack? Plain old oregano.

Just take a look at this: oregano was found to have 42 times more antioxidants than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges, and four times more than blueberries! That means that one tablespoon of fresh oregano has the same free-radical fighting power as one medium-sized apple.   Overall, oregano had 3 to 20 times more antioxidant content than the other herbs tested. But there were other good sources; for example, dill, thyme, rosemary, and peppermint all ranked high.

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How can you benefit from the antioxidant power of fresh herbs?

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Many of us have been using dried herbs in cooking for years. But, according to the study's authors, fresh herbs are the best choice, as some of the antioxidant concentration is lost in processing. Fresh herbs may not be as familiar, but you can adapt to them in no time. If you prefer not to grow your own, most grocery stores now

carry a wide variety of fresh herbs, and it's easy to work them into familiar recipes. 

Of course, you still need to eat your fruits and veggies; these foods offer a wide range of other beneficial phytochemicals, plus vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are essential to good health. But now we know that fresh herbs can help add even more antioxidant power into our lives- while adding great taste, too.

 To Your Good Health,

 Jenny Thompson

Health Sciences Institute

reprinted from Digest for HerbBusiness@topica.com, issue 174