by Joseph M. Mercola
from Mercola Website
Herbs and cooking spices contain a wide variety of antioxidants, minerals and vitamins, and help maximize the nutrient density of your meals. Every time you flavor your meals with herbs or spices you are literally "upgrading" your food without adding a single calorie.
In fact, on a per gram fresh weight basis, herbs rank even higher in antioxidant activity than fruits and vegetables, which are known to be high in antioxidants. Many studies have also shown that most spices tend to have unique medicinal qualities.
In the featured study (Bioavailability of Herbs and Spices in Humans as Determined by Ex-vivo Inflammatory Suppression and DNA Strand Breaks), 1 researchers from three Universities devised an experiment to evaluate the "true world" benefits of herbs and spices, by feeding them to people in quantities that are typically consumed simply by spicing up your meals.
As noted by Dr. Michael Greger MD, who produced the video above: 2
Four Spices That Pack a Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Punch
For one week, 10 to 12 subjects in each of 13 groups consumed a small amount of a particular spice each day.
For example, those in the oregano group ate just half a teaspoon of oregano daily for seven days. Blood samples were drawn one hour prior to consumption, and at the very end of the experiment.
The participants' blood was then analyzed for antioxidant capacity. The researchers also analyzed how well the blood could dampen an induced inflammatory response in white blood cells.
This was done by placing the participants' blood onto white blood cells that had been damaged by oxidized cholesterol (commonly found in fried foods).
Even at the "everyday" dosage amounts given, four spices were found to be significantly effective at quelling the inflammatory response:
As noted in the featured article:
Other Potent Anti-Inflammatory Spices
An earlier study published in the Journal of Medicinal Foods 3 found a direct correlation between the antioxidant phenol content of spice and herb extracts and their ability to inhibit glycation and block the formation of AGE compounds (advanced glycation end products), making them potent preventers of heart disease and premature aging.
Here, cloves were ranked as the most potent of 24 common herbs and spices found in your spice rack.
In all, the following were found to be the top 10 most potent anti-inflammatory herbs and spices:
Inflammation Is at the Heart of Most Chronic Diseases
It's important to realize that chronic inflammation is the source of many if not most diseases, including,
While inflammation is a perfectly normal and beneficial process that occurs when your body's white blood cells and chemicals protect you from foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses, it leads to trouble when the inflammatory response gets out of hand. Your diet has a lot to do with this chain of events.
While among the most potent, ounce for ounce, herbs and spices are certainly not the only anti-inflammatory ingredients available.
A number of foods are well-known for their anti-inflammatory properties, and making sure you're eating a wide variety of them on a regular basis can go a long way toward preventing chronic illness.
Top Seven Anti-Inflammatory Foods
The following foods and nutrients deserve special mention for their ability to quell inflammatory responses in your body:
Your Diet Is Key for Reducing Chronic Inflammation
The running thread linking a wide variety of common health problems - from obesity and diabetes to heart disease and cancer - is chronic inflammation.
The key to reducing chronic inflammation in your body starts with your diet, and being liberal in your use of high-quality herbs and spices is one simple way to boost the quality of your food. They're an inexpensive "secret weapon" that just about everyone can take advantage of.
Spicing up your meals is not enough, however, if processed foods comprise the bulk of your diet.
It's important to realize that dietary components can either prevent or trigger inflammation from taking root in your body, and processed foods do the latter, courtesy of pro-inflammatory ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, soy, processed vegetable oils (trans fats), and other chemical additives.
Besides adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet, you'll also want to avoid the following pro-inflammatory dietary culprits as much as possible:
Replacing processed foods with whole, ideally organic foods will automatically address most of these factors, especially if you eat a large portion of your food raw.
Equally important is making sure you're regularly reseeding your gut with beneficial bacteria, as mentioned above.
To help you get started on a healthier diet, I suggest following my free Optimized Nutrition Plan, which starts at the beginner phase and systematically guides you step-by-step to the advanced level.