Spices, herbs aid in nutritional well-being

| March 12, 2010 | 0 Comments

Chris Halagarda
Defense Commissary Agency

FORT LEE, Va. – March is National Nutrition Month, chockfull of many positive goals which everyone can implement to improve nutritional health, such as losing weight, increasing fruit and vegetable consumption each day, eating less red meat and drinking more water.

What about trying out some new herbs and spices on common food? Most people don’t think of herbs and spices as improving their nutritional health, but they are some of the best sources of nutrition known to man.

The Department of Agriculture’s Database for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, or ORAC, lists the antioxidant levels of common foods.

Despite the belief that herbs and spices have no nutritional value, many herbs and spices top the ORAC list.

For example, ground cinnamon rates higher than blueberries or pomegranate juice, while oregano and turmeric rate above powerhouses like raspberries, strawberries and asparagus, all extremely healthy foods.

Also, “standing tall” on this nutritionally healthy list is paprika, rosemary, ginger and thyme, to name a few.

So, for National Nutrition Month, how about putting down the salt shaker and sprinkling some herbs and spices on food.

Consider the following:
• Add a teaspoon of cinnamon to oatmeal, toast with peanut butter, fruit cup or yogurt and granola.

• Sprinkle some ground ginger into a shrimp and vegetable stir-fry.

• Chop a tablespoon of thyme and rosemary into your omelet.• Make homemade hummus, experimenting with different amounts of cumin, coriander, red pepper and paprika. Start with small amounts, such as a quarter of a teaspoon.

• Try yellow curry in whole-grain rice.

• Sprinkle meats with thyme, rosemary or oregano, and then enjoy with family and friends.

(Editor’s Note: Chris Halagarda is the Department of the Navy Fitness, Performance Enhancement dietitian.)


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