Many people believe that fat is what makes food taste good, not necessarily!

While fat is required for certain recipes, it is easy to cut back (on fat but not on taste) by using herbs and spices. In addition to flavor, herbs and spices bring some surprising benefits to the equation (see below). Whenever possible choose fresh over dried.

Oregano

  • Contains an antioxidant (cancer preventing) called quercetin, which may help prevent breast, ovarian and endometrial cancers. A recent USDA study concludes that oregano has the strongest antioxidant benefits of all herbs: 42 times more antioxidant activity than apples, 30 times more than potatoes and 12 times more than oranges. Oregano is also known for its anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties.

Turmeric

  • Pungent, bitter herb with a mild aroma and slight scents of orange or ginger.
  • The substance that gives turmeric its yellow color, curcumin is believed to slow the proliferation of prostate cancer cells. Other studies show protection against cancers of the colon, skin and mouth. Researchers also believe it may be protective against heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cataracts.
  • Turmeric is sold ground and is a necessary ingredient of curry powder, thus found in many Indian preparations in addition to Southeast Asian cuisine.

Rosemary & Sage

  • Contain carnosol which is an anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic. Studies suggest that carnosol detoxifies substances that can initiate the breast cancer process. There is also research suggesting its prevention for skin and lung cancers.
  • When purchasing rosemary, fresh is superior to dry because it loses its flavor and becomes difficult to chew when dried.

Ginger

  • Contains a compound called gingerol which when dried turns into zingerone. Both have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger has been used to treat nausea, motion sickness and other digestive ailments.
  • Fresh ginger should be plump with smooth skin and can be kept up to one month in the refrigerator. Ginger is also available peeled, pickled, candied, and dried ground.

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