Herbs: A Powerful Antioxidant Source for Parkinson’s Disease
Last updated: July 2021
Herbs are kind of a big dill. They provide phytochemicals — beneficial plant compounds that promote healthy bodily functions and help combat disease. Specifically, dried herbs are exceptionally dense in phytonutrients as their antioxidants get preserved during the drying process.
Herbs are packed with plant compounds that can help both improve cognition and prevent cognitive decline, an important health goal in Parkinson's disease (PD). Those highest in antioxidants include cloves, peppermint, allspice, cinnamon, oregano, and thyme for herbs.1,2
Cloves are exceedingly high – enjoy them in your black or chai tea for a sensory overload and boost of wholesome nutrition. Just one teaspoon of ground cloves has almost the same antioxidant quantity as a cup of blueberries and has more than three times as many antioxidants as a kiwi.3,4
Add flavor to your meal
Herbs add more than just health benefits for Parkinson's disease. Herbs and spices also offer an assortment of tastes, from delicate and sweet to bold and earthy. With just a pinch, you can revolutionize the flavor of any meal, adding more dimension and satisfaction than the ol’ salt shaker.
Not to mention, these aromatic herbs also brighten your dishes by adding color and visual attractiveness. Once you spice, your dish becomes so nice! You won’t be able to resist cooking veggies or proteins with Mrs. Dash, TJ’s 21 Salute, or your own herba-licious homemade blend.
Herbs pack antioxidant power for PD. If the elevated taste, smell, and look of a spice-filled dish wast not appealing enough, these mighty plant compounds also have anti-inflammatory properties. The reduction of chronic inflammation can protect against free radical damage associated with brain aging.5
It doesn’t take an unrealistically large quantity to reap the benefits of herbs! Be-leaf it or not, just two tablespoons of dried basil has two times the antioxidant content as a cup of green grapes and three times as much as a cup of cooked carrots.4
How to store herbs
It’s a taste that lasts! To maximize the antioxidant value, use your herbs within six months of production. While you can still enjoy these aromatic and tasty flavors for the months to come, they won’t have the same antioxidant value.
In order to properly store household herbs and spices, keep them in a cool, dry place, away from direct light, heat, or humidity. For maximal antioxidant retention, keep them in airtight glass jars and close tightly after each use. The average shelf life of herbs varies by type:6
- Ground spices: 2-3 years
- Whole spices: 3-4 years
- Dried herbs: 1-3 years
- Fresh herbs: 5-7 days
- Extracts: 4-5 years
Increase the amount
Wonder why your online recipe doesn’t taste quite as good as your favorite restaurant? Try doubling or tripling the herb and spice content! Relying on these flavorful plants will also allow you to break up with your saltshaker yet add a powerful punch of nutritious flavor. For an added flavor enhancement and antioxidant boost, add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime juice.
Experiment with different cuisines
Take a trip around the world to experiment with new flavors that add a burst of antioxidants and delightful aroma. Check out how to emulate these different cuisines through spices and herbs:
- Middle Eastern: cumin, coriander, cinnamon, zaatar, nutmeg
- French: parsley, rosemary, thyme
- Greek: mint, bay leaf, oregano, dill, fennel seed
- Italian: basil, rosemary, oregano, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes
- Indian: cardamom, cumin, mustard seed, clove, curry
- Spanish: saffron, cayenne, paprika, parsley
Flavor pairing ideas
Looking to cook a delicious meal in a pinch but lack creativity beyond salt and pepper? Add a little spice to life with these classic flavor combinations:7
- Fish: chervil, dill, fennel, tarragon, garlic, parsley, thyme.
- Beans, whole grains, and tofu: coriander, cumin, garlic, ginger, hot pepper, pepper, sage, savory, thyme
- Beef: bay, cloves, cumin, garlic, hot pepper, rosemary
- Poultry: garlic, oregano, rosemary, sage
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