Tuesday, September 29, 2009

5 Antioxidant Super Spices For Wellness

For those of you who missed the conference last Saturday, I hope you'll be able to attend the next one because it was just full of great information and wonderful people. I truly enjoyed connecting with everyone I was able to chat with last weekend.

Dr. Haley and Dr. Davis both spent a great deal of time discussing the importance of proper levels of glutathione and the key values of high antioxidants in the diet. While I am not a chemist, nor a doctor, I cannot discuss in depth the chemistry behind the brilliant presentations shared, I CAN talk to the importance of antioxidants!

Here are some short cut powerhouse antioxidants you can add to your daily routine to increase your overall health. Many studies tout the benefits of antioxidants in relation to cancer prevention as well as their ability to grab on to those free radicals and pull them out of our system.

To get you started, see what you can do with these 5 powerful antioxidant spices in your diet! To understand their ranking a bit, let me introduce the term ORAC value. ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, and what it tells us is how much antioxidant capacity a food source contains, with a high number being better. Or, more plainly said, the higher number the food is ranked, the more capable it is of destroying free radicals. The USDA would like us to get 5000 ORAC units a day.

1. Cinnamon: add 1 teaspoon to your hot cereal in the morning, and a dash to your warm cocoa in the winter. If you are making anything that can benefit from this delightful spice, take advantage of it's very high ORAC value. According to the value rankings at ORACValues.com 1 tablespoon (7g) in one day would rank you over 18,700 on the ORAC value chart! (note, it is not recommended to eat more than 1 tsp per serving).

2. Cocoa: It's easy enough for me to enjoy 1 tablespoon of unsweetened, natural, cocoa powder mixed into my rice milk/ almond milk on a chilly fall morning. Cocoa is another great antioxidant, and by making your own cocoa with natural unsweetened cocoa powder, a safe organic milk, and a small bit of honey or stevia, you can avoid all the unpleasant health destroyers that are often found in commercial cocoa mixes. 1 tablespoon (5g) of cocoa powder ranks in on the ORAC value chart at a little over 4,000.

3. Oregano: Do you think 1 teaspoon, ground, (2g) of oregano can be worked into your meals throughout a day? If so, you just boost your ranking by adding another 4000 on the ORAC value chart.

4. Tumeric: One teaspoon (2g) of Tumeric added to your foods each day gives you an additional ranking of 3100 on the ORAC value chart, but it should also be noted that Tumeric is a wonderful anti-inflammatory spice. If you are suffering from any sort of inflammation, arthritis, other, consider adding Tumeric to many meals!

5. Parsley: This beautiful dried green spice is easy to pile onto many warm dishes, as well as to mix into cold salads and sides. I would think adding 1 tablespoon (2g)of dried parsley to your day to reach an additional 1400 on the ORAC value chart would be doable indeed.

So, you can see that by making an effort to work in some of these delicious spices each day (and other wonderful spices such as cumin, clove, basil and more) you will be doing great! This sample day yields a ranking of approximately 31,000. Add in your fruits and vegetables for the day, and that number soars even higher!

So spice it up and enjoy the flavor enhancing antioxidant rich choices in your foods each day!

ORAC data collected from http://oracvalues.com
Nutritional weight data collected from www.nutritiondata.com