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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

When Fresh Is NOT the Best

Did you know that herbs and spices are not just for making foods more tasty?

Recently I read an article by nutrition expert Kelley Herring about the benefits of using herbs and spices in your cooking. She says that when you add herbs and spices to your meals, you're doing yourself a big favor. Herring writes that recent research shows that many herbs and spices pack more age-defying, disease-fighting nutrients than the foods we use them on.

Herring believes using dried herbs will help you power up the flavor and boost the antioxidants in your meals nearly tenfold.

Herring provides the following information:

The Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity (ORAC) score ranks foods on their ability to neutralize free radicals.
Blueberries are extremely rich in antioxidants, ranking 6,552 on the ORAC scale. But Herring writes that doesn't come close to the antioxidants found in common herbs like basil and oregano.


Here's how these herbs stack up, according to Herring:

ORAC Score of Oregano

* 13,970 (fresh)
* 200,129 (dried)

ORAC Score of Basil

* 4,805 (fresh)
* 67,553 (dried)

Apparently dried is sometimes better than fresh!

Herring suggests that we buy organic dried herbs and store them in opaque containers, away from light and heat. And replace your herbs every six months to get the most flavor and free-radical fighters out of your shaker.