Sugar and spice and all things nice

Well, actually, this blog is only about spices, not sugar. I have a feeling that the information I provide will be quite intriguing and new to some. However it is conveyed, I hope you enjoy a few "golden nuggets".

Spices, something I personally use each time I cook. It's in my Italian blood but little did I know how much benefit dried spices actually have. The basis for this discussion is ORAC. That is the Oxygen Radical Absorbence Capacity. In simple terms, ORAC is a way to measure the antioxidant power of products. It's been in the press quite a bit as of late, usually as it pertains to fruits and vegetables and even some sports nutrition supplements. The higher the ORAC value, the greater the antioxidant power.

For example, blueberries and pomegranate juice are pretty high on the list as are other fruits and vegetables. That's pretty standard knowledge but what is somewhat surprising is the power that small amounts of dried herbs provide.

Cinnamon, oregano and turmeric are powerhouses when it comes to ORAC level. In fact, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon has a higher ORAC level than pomegranate juice and blueberries with oregano and turmeric close behind.

Here's some top ORAC values among common foods and spices:

1 tsp ground cinnamon, 6956 ORAC value
8 ounces pomegranate juice, 5853 ORAC value
1/2 cup blueberries, 4848 ORAC value
1/2 cup cranberries, 4792 ORAC value
1 tsp dried oregano, 3602 ORAC value
1 tsp ground turmeric, 3504 ORAC value

Add these powerful dried spices to your line-up of cooking and you will certainly reap the benefits of consuming more antioxidants in your overall nutrition plan. Here are a few ways to sneak them in:

1. Put ground cinnamon in a shaker and have it handy so you can sprinkle it onto oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, hot cocoa and fruit salad.

2. Add dried oregano on top of pizza, salads and sandwiches for a powerful antioxidant punch.

3. Try turmeric in quinoa and over vegetables for a tantalizing taste.

If you are following a metabolically efficient nutrition plan, spices will be a key component in your cooking routine. Be sure to experiment often and devise your own "concoctions".


Coach Bob