Kitchen herbs are more than just those herbs used to flavor foods. In addition to flavoring, these herbs provide medicinal benefits especially when it comes to dealing with free radical the instigators of the again process.
Free radicals have been implicated in such diseases as arthritis, cancer, heart disease and immune system disorders. It is hard to stop the production of free radicals because they self-generate and harm genetic material. As a result of this alteration of protein structure within genes, problems in protein synthesis inevitably occur and compromise the body’s immune processes. Combating the problem of free radicals involves consuming herbs that are part of the oregano family.
The USDA recently discovered that commonly used certain herbs contain more antioxidants than vegetables and fruits. Oregano was one of the herbs they cited which contains three to twenty more times more antioxidants than other herbs which were included in the study. The benefits of oregano include:
- 42 times more antioxidants than apples.
- 30 times more antioxidants than potatoes.
- 12 times more antioxidants than oranges.
- 4 times more antioxidants than blueberries.
The study also mentions other herbs which contain beneficial antioxidants such as:
- Sweet Marjoram
- Rose Geranium
- Pot Marigold
Pot marigold has a high concentration of lutein, a potent antioxidant which is pot marigold, one of the best sources of the powerful antioxidant lutein. Lutein is remarkably efficient in fighting macular degeneration, an eye disease afflicting many elderly people. In addition, these growing herbs is easy, except for the rose geranium, which is a sensitive perennial that should be grown indoors during the winter months. You can also find any of these kitchen herbs in your local grocery store or garden center.
Instead of Salt
The USDA strongly recommends using kitchen herbs in place of salt, which can contribute to high blood pressure and water retention. Generally, most herbs taste better when used fresh but some such as bay leaves are better when partly dried. Herbs can be easily overcooked and lose their antioxidant and nutritional benefits this way so it is suggested that they be added when the food is almost done cooking.
Here is a delicious and healthy recipe for salt-free soup containing rosemary:
Cream of Carrot Soup with Rosemary
- ~ 1 large onion, chopped
- ~ 12 carrots, chopped
- ~ 1 potato, peeled and cubed
- ~ 4 cups of chicken, vegetable or herb bouillon
- ~ 1 tsp. fresh ginger root, minced
- ~ 2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
- ~ 1/2 cup of heavy cream
- ~ 2 Tbsp. of olive oil
- ~ Pinch of cayenne
- ~ A few extra rosemary sprigs for garnish
In a large saucepan, saute the onion in the olive oil until translucent, but not brown. Add the carrots, potato and stock and cook until the carrots and potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes. Then add the ginger and rosemary, allow cooling and blending in a food processor until smooth. Reheat, but don’t allow boiling while stirring in the heavy cream and adding salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. When serving, garnish with the extra rosemary springs.