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Spice, Spice Baby








Antioxidants. You've probably heard of 'em. Antioxidants are (mostly) vitamins and (some) minerals that fight free radicals.

And what are free radicals? you ask.

Free radicals are reactive molecules of oxygen. They are formed as byproducts of metabolism and through exposure to toxins in the environment, such as cigarette smoke. Some foods contain free radicals. Examples include high fat foods. Also, the type of iron in red meat, called heme iron, is a potent oxidant.

The stress caused by free radicals causes many chronic and degenerative diseases, including but not limited to cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. Free radicals also speed up the process of aging, which can result in those pesky wrinkles, joint pains and liver spots that are the hallmarks of Time.

Enter the Almighty Antioxidants.

Mixed BerriesThe vitamins A, C and E, as well as the mineral selenium neutralize free radicals and slow down the process of aging. Your body cannot produce antioxidants and so you must obtain them in food. They are found almost exclusively in plant foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Animal flesh and animal byproducts contain few antioxidants. In fact, vitamin C is nonexistent in meat, eggs and dairy products.


When you think of food sources of these precious chemicals, berries probably come to mind. Indeed such fruits as blueberries, raspberries and strawberries contain more antioxidants than virtually any other fruit, and any other food for that matter.

With one exception.

Spices.

Most people use spices to flavor dishes. But if used in large enough quantities (say, 1 or 2 tbsp) some spices provide more antioxidant benefit than entire cups of berries.



To wit:

100 grams of blueberries: 6552 antioxidant units

100 grams of raspberries: 4882 antioxidant units

100 grams of strawberries: 3557 antioxidant units

by comparison:

100 grams of cocoa: 80933 units, or 6500 units per tbsp

100 grams of turmeric: 159277 units, or 12,742 units per tbsp

100 grams of cinnamon: 267536 units, or 21,400 units per tbsp

In other words, 1 tbsp of cinnamon has over twice the antioxidant power as 1 entire cup of blueberries!

How to spice up your meals? Simple

1. Add 1-2 tbsp of cinnamon to a morning fruit smoothie



2. Add 1-2 tbsp cocoa to your coffee

3. Add 1-2 tbsp. of turmeric to your favorite cooked vegetable dish.



Turn aging on its head and become younger day by day.

 Heal the planet one huge delicious bite at a time. The Paradigm Way.

References:
http://www.ars.usda.gov/sp2userfiles/place/12354500/data/orac/orac07.pdf

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