Spice it up!

Near the top of our list of goodies we just must get in-- are antioxidants. Insufficient levels of antioxidants cause oxidative stress and may damage or kill cells. Recent research has been done concerning the power of antioxidants to prevent diseases such as cancer, coronary heart disease and even altitude sickness.  
You are probably aware that vegetables, nuts and grains are antioxidant power houses and now a recent study shows that a surprising category should be added to the list: herbs and spices.
When Rune Blomhoff and other scientists at the University of Oslo in Norway assessed just how much these culinary accents can contribute to a person’s total intake of dietary antioxidants, they found the amount to be significant. As little as 1 gram (about 1⁄2 teaspoon) of cloves will contribute more dietary antioxidant than a 1⁄2-cup serving of blueberries or cranberries, two foods famous for their antioxidant levels. And 1⁄2 teaspoon dried oregano contains the antioxidant of 1⁄2 cup sweet potatoes.
Cloves, oregano, allspice, cinnamon, sage, peppermint, thyme and lemon balm lead the pack. Blomhoff says both fresh and dried varieties work: “Many fresh herbs contain so much antioxidant that when dried they are still very good sources.” And benefits can even come in the form of teas, which, according to Blomhoff, “may be a significant dietary source.”
Top 10 Dried Herbs & Spices
·      Cloves

·      Cinnamon

·      Rosemary

·      Thyme

·      Marjoram

·      Oregano
Top 6 Fresh Herbs
·      Oregano

·      Peppermint

·      Thyme

·      Lemon balm

·      Marjoram
So what is our challenge for the week? SPICE IT UP LADIES. 
For every day that you use a fresh or dried herb or spice in your cooking or that you enjoy a wonderful herbal tea and soak up those antioxidants you can award yourself the daily 5 bonus points.
And I challenge you to make an extra effort to use and include spices and herbs you have not used before. I especially love:
Fresh mint in a fruit salad, fresh basil in a home made bruschetta and my favorite favorite herbal tea is Coconut Custard Rooibus from Teas etc. or CocoCaramel Sea Salt from Teavana (and if you haven’t checked out your mall to see if they have a Teavana store which offers free daily taste testing and always includes a non-caffiene tea-- well get to the mall ladies)
Have an awesome week! 

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