Cancer-Fighting Sprinkles

We’ve all heard of antioxidants; they’re those wonderful substances that help prevent and repair damage to our cells to ward off premature aging and cancer, among other maladies.  Antioxidants such as vitamins A, C & E, lutein, beta carotene, selenium and lycopene are found in abundance in a healthy diet rich in whole grains, vibrant fruits and vegetables and… herbs and spices? That’s right.  Those wonderful flavouring agents growing stale next to your stove are, in fact, superfoods with the ability to help you lose weight & stay healthy! Spices are a dieter’s best friend as they add flavour and richness with virtually no calories.  The spiciest of them – cayenne, hot curry powder or plain old chili flakes – force us to slow down as we eat and, statistically, to actually eat less as a result. Here’s one more reason to add some oregano to your whole wheat pasta or some cinnamon to your oatmeal: the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found in the largest-ever antioxidant study that ground cinnamon, cloves and oregano are some of the most potent sources of antioxidants, rivaling even blueberries and cranberries.  In fact, just one teaspoon of cinnamon provides the same quantity of antioxidants as a half cup of blueberries! The bottom line: eat more vegetables, fruits and grains.  But when blueberries rise to $8 a pint in the dead of winter, grab that cinnamon shaker and add some spice to your oatmeal, yogurt, fruit, even your coffee, and savour the flavour. Here are the top four antioxidant herbs/spices to add to tonight’s dinner:

  • cloves have the highest level of antioxidants among spices and also reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • cinnamon comes in just below cloves on the antioxidant index and also helps control blood sugar following a meal
  • oregano is not just an antioxidant powerhouse, it’s renowned for its antibacterial properties
  • turmeric packs antioxidants and is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties that can mean major cancer prevention benefits

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