Top 10 Antioxidant Spices
We all know that spices are added to the food for enriching their taste, color and smell. Could there be anything more to these spices other than their taste, color and smell enhancing properties? Yes, there is more to it. But what are those extra values? From various researches conducted around the world it was concluded that the some of the regularly used spices are stacked with health promoting antioxidants.
Another surprising fact is that the antioxidant properties of the regularly used spices are higher than most of the vegetables and fruits that we use daily. As per the Nutritional Journal study, the antioxidant activities in spices were found to be 2300 times greater than fruits and around 3600 times greater than vegetables.
Antioxidants inhibit the action of free radicals because sometimes the highly reactive oxidant molecules may cause damage to the cells and tissues. The inhibiting action of the antioxidants is expressed in ORAC values (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity). ORAC Values are displayed as micromoles of Trolox equivalents.
1 unit= 1 micromole TE/gram (where 1 Gram equals 0.035 ounces or about 1/5 teaspoon)
Turmeric (1593 units/gram)
Turmeric is botanically known as “Curcuma longa”. This rhizomatous herb belongs to the ginger family Zingiberaceae. This spice is an indispensible part of many of the South Asian and Middle Eastern Cuisine. Turmeric is rich in curcumin, which is a strong pain reliever. Turmeric is largely used in the preparation of medicines for Arthritis, and Alzheimer’s (it slows down the formation of amyloid plaques).
Cloves (3144 units/gram)
Cloves are botanically known as “Syzygium aromaticum”. Cloves are an indispensible part of South Asian and other global food preparations. They are largely perceived as anodynes (pain killer) and are used in most of the dental emergencies. Cloves are rich in eugenols, which are helpful to curb digestive problems, cancer, impotence, etc.
Cumin seeds (768 units/gram)
Cummin seeds are botanically known as “Cuminum cyminum” and belong to the herb family Apiaceae. Cumin seeds are rich in iron and essential oils. Cumin seeds are used in the preparation of medicines to soothe digestion problems. It is traditionally used in Indian, Middle-Eastern, Italian,Spanish, Cuban and Tex-Mex cuisines.
Black Pepper (27,618 units/gram)
Black pepper or “Piper nigrum”(as it is botanically known) belongs to the family of Piperaceae. Black Pepper is also known as “Black gold" due to its high price. Today it has become an indispensible part of many cuisines around the world. It is considered to be an exceptional remedy for treating coughs, colds etc. Also it is considered to be good for improving metabolism, blood circulation, etc. Black pepper is also used for improving digestion and controlling hiccups.
Cinnamon (ground) 2674 units/gram
Cinnamon belongs to the genus Cinnamomum. Cinnamon bark is used in the preparation of several food items to enrich its flavor and taste. Cinnamon bark is rich in essential oil and other chemical compounds such as eugenols, ethyl cinnamate, beta- caryophyllene, linalool and methyl chavicol. It is generally used in the preparation of medicines used for treating colds, Type 2 diabetes mellitus, and oxidative stress.
Oregano (dried) 2001 units/gram
Scientifically known as “Origanum vulgare” this herb belongs to the family of mints and it is widely used in many of the European food preparations. Phenolic acids and flavonoids impart antioxidant properties to oregano. Its main constituents include carvacrol, thymol, limonene, pinene, ocimene, and caryophyllene. It is largely used in the preparation of many antiseptics, antispasmodics, carminatives, diaphoretics, expectorants, stimulatives, and stomachic medicines.
Parsley 743 units/gram
Parsley or “Petroselinum” (as it is scientifically known) is commonly used in many Middle Eastern, European and American food preparations. It is generally used to prepare medicines for controlling high blood pressure, strengthening the bladder, improving kidney functions, and enhancing body’s manganese absorption power.
Cardamom 2,764 units/gram
It belongs to the family of ginger and is widely used for its medicinal values and rich flavor. It is known for myriad medicinal properties like: strengthening the heart and lungs; detoxifying the body of caffeine; kidney stimulating action; improving blood circulation, etc.
Ginger 28,811 units /gram
This rhizominous herb is known as Zingiber officinale. It is used in many of the Asian food preparations. It is widely used to treat health issues like diarrhea, constipation, gall bladder stones, diabetes etc.
Nutmeg 69,640 units /gram
Nutmeg belongs to the genus of Myristica and is used in many of the food preparations throughout Asia. It is widely used in preparation of recreational drugs.