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  • Writer's pictureDr. Kristen Mitteness

Spice Up Life, Slow Down Aging

We’ve all heard advertisements for the next “super food” or “miracle treatment”. You can choose whether or not you want to buy into the hype. Beyond making sure you are eating a variety of quality vegetables and fruits to accompany your meat and fat sources, I’m going to encourage you to start using spices to obtain your “super nutrients”.

All foods have an ORAC value. ORAC stands for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity. This essentially means that they help combat the free radicals within our bodies. When certain molecules are exposed to oxygen, free radicals are created. Free radicals play a critical role in cellular damage, aging and overall body breakdown. This process occurs with stress—all forms: physical, chemical and emotional—and it unavoidable, which is why we all age. Exercise is a huge player in this process due to the increased amount of breathing one does. More oxygen used creates more oxidation.

To combat free radicals and cellular damage that everyone is exposed to, we need anti-oxidants. Fruits and vegetables are great sources of anti-oxidants. The greater the amount of anti-oxidants, the higher the ORAC value. However, very few people realize that spices have a much higher ORAC value than all other foods!

In addition to their high ORAC value, spices often contain other components that increase the bioavailability of nutrients in the other foods you eat. Black pepper is well known for this property.

Slow down your aging and cellular damage and increase the amount of nutrients you absorb with some of these spices:

  • Cloves

  • Oregano

  • Rosemary

  • Thyme

  • Cinnamon

  • Turmeric

  • Vanilla

  • Sage

  • Nutmeg

  • Pepper

This is, of course, not a full list. Try to use more spices in your cooking at every meal for better health!

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