5 Spices That Are The Most Powerful Antioxidants

Spices are a rich source of polyphenols, which means we should all be eating more of them. Polyphenols are powerful anti-oxidants that neutralize the free radicals formed by constant sun exposure and anti-microbial agents that are plantsí primary defense mechanism against microbiological attack. By ingesting foods that contain high levels of polyphenols, humans boost their immune systems, reduce cellular inflammation, and maintain an optimal balance between the good and bad microbes that live in our digestive tracts.

Adding more spices to your diet is one way to increase the number of polyphenols entering your body on a regular basis, although, as†Dr. Barry Sears explains†in†The Mediterranean Zone, you need to have continual daily intake in order to benefit in the long term, since polyphenols are fully metabolized within 24 hours of being taken into the body.

Here is a list of the top 5 spices that rank highest in terms of polyphenol content, making them the ones that you should try hardest to incorporate into your diet. ORAC stands for oxygen radical absorption capacity, which estimates the spiceís anti-oxidant ability. These values come from†The Mediterranean Zone.

Oregano

Photo credit: Roman Plessl

Photo credit: Roman Plessl

Oregano, dried — 175,295 ORAC/100 grams

Oregano is synonymous with Italian foods, which make pizza and pasta sauces the obvious choice for how to use it. But oregano is also delicious stirred into scrambled eggs, vegetable soups, salad dressings, and sprinkled over sautťed vegetables.

Rosemary

Photo credit: Health Gauge

Photo credit: Health Gauge

Rosemary, dried — 165,280 ORAC/100 grams

Rosemary is delicious with oven-roasted root vegetables, as part of meat rubs and marinades, or sprinkled over fish. Use it to flavour lemonade, infuse olive oil, and make herbal tea.

Thyme

Photo credit: cookbookman17

Photo credit: cookbookman17

Thyme, dried — 157,380 ORAC/100 grams

Another popular Mediterranean spice, thyme is extremely versatile and can be used in many of the same ways as oregano. Add it to salad dressings, soups, stews, oven roasts or braises, all egg-based dishes, garlic bread, pasta sauce, etc.

Turmeric

Photo credit: Steven Jackson

Photo credit: Steven Jackson

Turmeric, ground — 127,068 ORAC/100 grams

Turmeric is most commonly associated with Indian cooking, which is one of the best ways to use it. Make curries out of whatever ingredients youíve got Ė vegetables, meat, fish, eggs, or lentils Ė and add a generous spoonful of turmeric, along with other curry spices such as cumin, ground coriander, ginger, and garlic. Add turmeric to soups, stews, and rice pilaf; it will add a vibrant yellow colour. Itís also good in mustard, relishes, chutneys, and pickles.

Sage

Photo credit: Alan Levine

Photo credit: Alan Levine

Sage, ground — 119,929 ORAC/100 grams

The taste of sage conjures up memories of Thanksgiving for many, but itís a spice that should be enjoyed at other times of the year, too. Similar to rosemary, itís excellent with roasted vegetables, meat, and fish. Add a pinch to pasta dishes, particularly cream sauces, and any soups or stews. Sage complements many winter vegetables, such as butternut squash, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and rutabaga.

Katharine Martinko, TreeHugger.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

117 comments

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill2 years ago

Good to know.

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Melissa DogLover
Melissa DogLover2 years ago

all noted-- thanks.

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MJ J.
Past Member 2 years ago

Sage, too? OK, good to know. I take tumeric now, and I use the others in dishes. I do like herbs and spices. BTW, aren't some of those herbs, rather than spices?

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tanzy t.
tanzy t2 years ago

ugh

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Nikki Davey
Nikki Davey2 years ago

Like all of these

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Elena Poensgen
Elena Poensgen2 years ago

Thank you

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Nimue Pendragon

Love them! :)

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Nimue Pendragon

Love them! :)

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Carol Bischoff
Carol B2 years ago

Thank you

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