- Fresh herbs come first. Usually, fresh herbs and spices like green herbs, garlic, and ginger have higher antioxidant content than the dried forms. For example, fresh garlic is 1 1/2 times more powerful than dry garlic powder. So, keep bulbs of fresh garlic and roots of fresh ginger on hand. (I buy a piece of ginger root, cut it up into 1 1/2 inch pieces, wrap the pieces individually in foil and put in a ziplock bag. When needed, take right out of the freezer, peel away the outer "skin" and grate into whatever your making, really easy!)
- Snip fresh herbs into everything. Place a fresh herb pot on your kitchen windowsill or counter and snip off herbs into everything: soups, stews, salads, dressings, pastas, beans, grains, vegetables, pizza, and sandwiches. Note: fresh herbs are best when you add them to a dish right before serving.
- Dried herbs and spices are good too. Just because fresh herbs may be more potent in some cases, that doesn't mean you should give up on the dried version. They are still packed with health-protective compounds. And some spices, like turmeric, are only available in dry form. Remember that some whole spices, such as bay leaves or cinnamon sticks, are meant to provide aroma and flavor to a dish, but then removed before serving.
- Stock your medicine--I mean spice--cabinet: Try to accumulate all the different herbs and spices. Buy a little every week until you have an abundance to choose from.
- Use a heavy hand. When you're using fresh green herbs, a spoonful is a little skimpy, instead add basil, parsley, cilantro, and chives by the handful. Even many dried herbs can be scooped by heaping spoonfuls into soups, vegetable and grain dishes, and stews. However, when using hot spices like black or red pepper, be careful not to overdo it.
- Cut out sodium. Take your favorite recipe and cut out the salt. Now replace it with herbs, spices or a low-sodium herbal blend such as Mrs. Dash.
- Combination therapy. Try a variety of spices and herbs--such as pepper, turmeric, basil, garlic and ginger---in a single dish.
- Sweet spice strategy. Let sweet, nutty spices like cloves, allspice, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and ginger--flavor your everyday cereals, fruits, desserts and breads.
I blogged two days ago about putting the salt shaker down and promised to give you some information about spices. You can spice up your diet with health-protective herbs and spices in just about anything you prepare...it's easier than you think. Here are some tips:
So, you see it's not all about salt and pepper. The more you use different herbs and spices, the more comfortable you will become using them. It's all about the flavor of dishes--and by using fresh herbs, you are just adding more and more nutritional value to your dish. For instance, turmeric is considered the SPICE KING! Studies have shown turmeric protects against cancer, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and GI problems. Of real interest is turmeric's potential in Alzheimer's disease protection. These little tiny herbs and spices are packed with powerful nutrition our bodies need everyday.
As I say all the time, you cannot buy in a bottle what nature provides for us in plants---it's just impossible!!
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