START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x

Spices: Antioxidants in a Pinch

In the Washington, DC area we are blessed with more than a dozen farmers’ markets. One local farm I frequent has a hydroponic greenhouse, so I can get fresh basil all year long. I’ve always been curious, though, how hydroponic basil—grown in water—compared nutritionally to basil grown in soil. Finally, a study was published comparing the two, which I feature in my 1-min. video Is Hydroponic Basil as Healthy?

The hydroponic basil won hands down! It had more antioxidant power and more key vitamins and phytonutrients. Why? Because the basil doesn’t like being grown in water. It’s the same reason many organic greens are healthier. Organic plants get bitten by bugs and, in defense, cruciferous greens such as kale and collards manufacture more of those wonderful glucosinolate compounds I featured in my Care2 Healthy Living posts, Breast Cancer Stem Cells vs. Broccoli and The Best Detox. Likewise, under the environmental stress of drowning hydroponically, basil releases more phenolic antioxidant phytonutrients like rosmarinic acid to protect itself, and we can reap the benefits. For more on these compounds, see my 2-min. video Phytochemicals: The Nutrition Facts Missing From the Label.

If you’re not lucky enough to live near a farm stand and too busy to grow your own, dried herbs and spices are surprisingly healthful. In fact, in a comparison of the Antioxidant Content of 3,139 Foods, ounce for ounce dried herbs and spices average the greatest antioxidant punch of all! Now even though herbs and spices may have 10 times the antioxidant power of nuts and seeds for example, it’s easy to eat a few ounces of nuts in one sitting, but not so easy to eat a few ounces of nutmeg. However, some herbs and spices are so off-the-charts amazing that just a small pinch can go a long way. Check out my NutritionFacts.org video pick of the day shown above.

Isn’t it enough to just eat a variety of fruits and vegetables? Should we really go out of our way to shift towards choosing the most antioxidant-packed? There is growing evidence that choosing foods particularly rich in antioxidants offers health benefits above and beyond quantity. See my videos Anti-Inflammatory Antioxidants, The Power of NO, and Bulking Up on Antioxidants.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

Image credit: Augapfel / Flickr

Related:
Which Vegetables Are Healthier Cooked?
Antioxidants: Plant vs. Animal Foods
#1 Anticancer Vegetable

Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Food, Health, Uncategorized, Videos, , , ,

have you shared this story yet?

go ahead, give it a little love

Dr. Michael Greger

A founding member of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. Currently Dr. Greger serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at The Humane Society of the United States. Hundreds of his nutrition videos are freely available at NutritionFacts.org.

73 comments

+ add your own
6:53AM PDT on Oct 4, 2014

Thanks

6:42AM PDT on Oct 4, 2014

Thanks

5:29AM PST on Feb 7, 2014

thank you

4:26PM PDT on May 7, 2013

Thanks.

1:55AM PDT on Apr 20, 2013

Thanks for sharing

2:50AM PDT on Apr 10, 2013

ty

5:38PM PDT on Apr 4, 2013

Thank you for sharing..

5:38PM PDT on Apr 4, 2013

Thank you for sharing..

4:48AM PDT on Mar 19, 2013

Great video.

3:12PM PDT on Mar 14, 2013

Thanks!

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Good reminders, thanks.

A friend of mine was caring for a colony of six cats when someone bought the property and told her t…

I judge others by their intentions as much as possible.

You can't go wrong with veggie lasagna, plus you can more or less use whatever veggies you have on h…

I use baking soda for cleaning. Thanks for sharing!

CONTACT THE EDITORS



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.