One of the easiest ways to increase the intake of beneficial antioxidants is to add a dash of spice to your dishes. Herbs and spices are what medical researchers call superfoods, thanks to their organic, antioxidant properties. They can also protect you from chronic diseases, lower your cholesterol, heal your lungs, improve your mood, give you mental clarity, cure your seasonal allergies, calm you down, and increase energy levels. 

Nutrition writer Cal Orey’s latest research, featured in The Healing Powers of Herbs and Spices, explores the medicinal powers of herbs and spices. “Anise, bay leaf, garlic, parsley, turmeric, and more–for thousands of years, herbs and spices have been praised for preserving and flavoring food, as well as preventing and curing illnesses,” explains Orey. “The latest research reveals that the seasonings already in your pantry–or easily found fresh in your supermarket or garden–can lower your risk for cancer, heart disease, and obesity.”

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Paprika 

Paprika, a.k.a. ‘Red gold” is one of the featured, beneficial spices. “Paprika contains carotenoids, and antioxidant rich complain that may help guard against disease” explains Orey. “Paprika also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, two compounds that can help eye health.”  

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound sweet potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon orange juice

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Thoroughly wash the whole sweet potatoes to remove any direct. Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and roast for one hour, or until soft and tender all the way to the center (pierce with a knife to check). Peel the sweet potatoes while still warm and mash with a potato masher. Add the smoked patrika, maple syrup, salt, and orange juice and continue mashing until smooth. Serves 4. 

Recipe courtesy of Chef Curtis Cook of Cal-A-Vie health spa

Roasted Cauliflower with Thyme

Thyme is another spice that boasts plenty of healthy vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, and E. Thyme also contains beneficial B-complex vitamins and folic acid. 

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium cauliflower cut into florets
  • 1 large red onion, sliced into 1-inch-thick wedges
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 teaspoons sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon black pepper

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl and toss evenly to coat the cauliflower and onions with oil and seasonings. Transfer to a large, rimmed baking sheet and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until tender and browned, tossing occasionally to evenly roast. Remove and place in a serving dish. Serves 4. 

For more information on the power of herbs and spices, check out The Healing Powers of Herbs and Spices by Cal Orey, available at your local bookstore or online.