Flashback Friday: Antioxidants in a Pinch

Flashback Friday: Antioxidants in a Pinch
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Some herbs and spices—including cinnamon, cloves, lemon balm, marjoram, oregano, and peppermint—are so rich in antioxidants that just a small pinch can go a long way.

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Dried Indian gooseberries may be the healthiest snack on the planet. Two hundred times the antioxidant content of blueberries. So, most antioxidants per serving; but ounce for ounce, dried herbs and spices pack, on average, the greatest antioxidant punch. For example, herbs and spices may max out at ten times the antioxidant power of nuts and seeds. But, look, I mean, it’s easy to eat an ounce of nuts. Not so easy, an ounce of nutmeg. So, but look, some herbs and spices are so off-the-chart amazing, that even just a small pinch can go a long way.

Here’s the antioxidant power of a bowl of spaghetti, and marinara sauce. Let’s make that whole wheat spaghetti. And maybe a few florets of steamed broccoli on top, and you have a nice 142-antioxidant unit meal. But sprinkle one little spoonful of dried oregano on top, and you nearly double the antioxidant power of that meal.

Here’s a bowl of oatmeal. Here’s a bowl of oatmeal, with just a half teaspoon of cinnamon on top, dramatically boosting the nutrition.

Now, whenever I eat anything, I always try to think of ways I can add something to boost the nutrition in the end. Can I throw in some greens or beans? Can I sprinkle herbs or spices on top? But which are the most powerful? Here’s a teaspoon of oregano, one of the best. And cinnamon. But both beaten out by marjoram, which is in the oregano family—but more than 50% more powerful than oregano. So, if instead of oregano, you sprinkled marjoram, you’d be up to here.

Next: allspice. Then, dried lemon balm, which makes a really nice tea. I used to grow it in my garden. And speaking of tea: dried peppermint. Try sprinkling dried mint on salads, foccacia, tabbouleh, and it goes good in Indian dishes. It’s always a good idea to have some around.

And then finally, the leader of the pack: cloves! Here’s that unassuming oatmeal with a half teaspoon of cinnamon, and just a pinch of cloves.

In a few minutes, you can microwave a sweet potato, mash it up with some cinnamon and cloves for a nice kind of pumpkin pie taste, and you have a cheap, simple, easy snack—snack!—with more antioxidants than some people get all day long! For example, Egg McMuffin for breakfast, Big Mac for lunch, then an 8-ounce filet mignon for supper, even with a few sprigs of parsley on top. Our “pumpkin pie” sweet potato may have the antioxidant power of nearly a week’s worth of the Standard American Diet, in one healthy snack.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is transcript contributed by Bruce A. Hamilton.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: showcake via Adobe Stock. And to BrokenSphereLuc ViatourHennaMiansari66RillkeJorge BarriosNCI, and Evan-Amos via Wikimedia Commons; HatM and Javier Lastras via flickr, and istockphoto. Images have been modified.

Dried Indian gooseberries may be the healthiest snack on the planet. Two hundred times the antioxidant content of blueberries. So, most antioxidants per serving; but ounce for ounce, dried herbs and spices pack, on average, the greatest antioxidant punch. For example, herbs and spices may max out at ten times the antioxidant power of nuts and seeds. But, look, I mean, it’s easy to eat an ounce of nuts. Not so easy, an ounce of nutmeg. So, but look, some herbs and spices are so off-the-chart amazing, that even just a small pinch can go a long way.

Here’s the antioxidant power of a bowl of spaghetti, and marinara sauce. Let’s make that whole wheat spaghetti. And maybe a few florets of steamed broccoli on top, and you have a nice 142-antioxidant unit meal. But sprinkle one little spoonful of dried oregano on top, and you nearly double the antioxidant power of that meal.

Here’s a bowl of oatmeal. Here’s a bowl of oatmeal, with just a half teaspoon of cinnamon on top, dramatically boosting the nutrition.

Now, whenever I eat anything, I always try to think of ways I can add something to boost the nutrition in the end. Can I throw in some greens or beans? Can I sprinkle herbs or spices on top? But which are the most powerful? Here’s a teaspoon of oregano, one of the best. And cinnamon. But both beaten out by marjoram, which is in the oregano family—but more than 50% more powerful than oregano. So, if instead of oregano, you sprinkled marjoram, you’d be up to here.

Next: allspice. Then, dried lemon balm, which makes a really nice tea. I used to grow it in my garden. And speaking of tea: dried peppermint. Try sprinkling dried mint on salads, foccacia, tabbouleh, and it goes good in Indian dishes. It’s always a good idea to have some around.

And then finally, the leader of the pack: cloves! Here’s that unassuming oatmeal with a half teaspoon of cinnamon, and just a pinch of cloves.

In a few minutes, you can microwave a sweet potato, mash it up with some cinnamon and cloves for a nice kind of pumpkin pie taste, and you have a cheap, simple, easy snack—snack!—with more antioxidants than some people get all day long! For example, Egg McMuffin for breakfast, Big Mac for lunch, then an 8-ounce filet mignon for supper, even with a few sprigs of parsley on top. Our “pumpkin pie” sweet potato may have the antioxidant power of nearly a week’s worth of the Standard American Diet, in one healthy snack.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is transcript contributed by Bruce A. Hamilton.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image credit: showcake via Adobe Stock. And to BrokenSphereLuc ViatourHennaMiansari66RillkeJorge BarriosNCI, and Evan-Amos via Wikimedia Commons; HatM and Javier Lastras via flickr, and istockphoto. Images have been modified.

Doctor's Note

Be sure to check out my other videos on herbs, and don’t miss all my videos on spices

Some of the newer videos on herbs and spices include:

And I have lots on ginger and turmeric.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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