If you’re adding herbs and spices to your meals, you’re doing yourself a big favor. Recent research shows that many herbs and spices pack more age-defying, disease-fighting nutrients than the foods we use them on. And today, I have a tip that will help you power up the flavor and boost the antioxidants in your meals nearly tenfold.

Use dried herbs!

The Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity (ORAC) score ranks foods on their ability to neutralize free radicals. As you probably know, blueberries are extremely rich in antioxidants, ranking 6,552 on the ORAC scale. But that doesn’t come close to the antioxidants found in common herbs like basil and oregano.

Let’s see how these herbs stack up:

ORAC Score of Oregano

  • 13,970 (fresh) 
  • 200,129 (dried)

ORAC Score of Basil

  • 4,805 (fresh)
  • 67,553 (dried)

While conventional wisdom says “fresh is always best,” here we see that dried is sometimes better.

Buy organic dried herbs and store them in opaque containers, away from light and heat. And replace your herbs every six months to get the most flavor and free-radical fighters out of your shaker.

[Ed. Note: Part of staying healthy is knowing which foods to eat – and which ones to avoid. Making good choices can help you live a long and healthy life. And talk about a healthy food that tastes fantastic… nutrition expert Kelley Herring has developed a chocolate cake so rich and delicious that you won’t believe it’s good for you. Get your own slice here.]

Kelley Herring

Kelley Herring is the Founder & CEO of Healing Gourmet – a multimedia company that educates on how foods promote health and protect against disease. As a young adult, Kelley battled a debilitating health condition that went misdiagnosed by multiple doctors for more than a year. Finding no help from “modern medicine”, she turned to her own knowledge of biochemistry and her passion for health research. She soon learned that her symptoms were related to nutrition and within weeks, she charted a course back to health with nothing more than simple lifestyle changes and the power of the plate. The lessons she learned spawned the creation of Healing Gourmet. Kelley is a firm believer in vigorous exercise, moderate sun exposure and delicious, healthy, home-cooked meals. She is also the creator of Healing Gourmet’s Personalized Nutrition Software and Editor-in-Chief of the Healing Gourmet book series published by McGraw-Hill including Eat to Fight Cancer, Eat to Beat Diabetes, Eat to Lower Cholesterol and Eat to Boost Fertility.