Add these antioxidant-packed spices & herbs for health and healing to your daily meals

  • 2 Minutes Read
Brenda Braslow
Brenda Braslow, MS, RDN, LDN, CDCES - Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES)

Did you know there are health benefits of a diet rich in herbs and spices and low in sodium that go beyond lowering blood pressure? Learn about the herbs and spices with the highest antioxidant content and some practical tips for their use in cooking.

Herbs for health and healing

Adding herbs for health and healing to your daily meals is a great way to load up on antioxidants!

Most people are aware that a high sodium diet has an impact on blood pressure and fluid retention. In fact, too much sodium can be a serious issue in people with heart, liver, or kidney disease.

So, does a healthy diet need to be bland and flavorless? No way! This is where healing herbs and spices come in. Not only can you add a flavor boost to your foods while using less salt, but many herbs and spices with high antioxidant content may actually decrease cancer risk too! Herbs and spices are virtually risk-free when added to food and come with the potential promise of improved health.

For centuries, many cultures have been using spices and herbs for health and healing and to flavor food. Modern science is now beginning to show the benefits of herbs and spices with the majority of studies focusing on the prevention of cancer and heart disease. Scientists propose that herbs and spices may reduce cancer risk by altering the bacterial environment, changing cellular structure, or blocking, slowing, or stopping tumor growth.

More than 180 spice compounds have been explored for their health benefits. Here is a list of some of the more well-studied spices, including practical tips for their use in cooking.

Herbs & spices with the highest antioxidant content


Turmeric is one of the most extensively studied spices. More than 1,700 lab studies have been published on this spice. It gets its yellow color from curcumin, a phytochemical being studied for its anti-cancer potential.

Tips for using turmeric:


Garlic, technically a vegetable, is often considered a spice because it is mainly used to flavor foods. Garlic is abundant in sulfur-containing compounds that are thought to be highly active in the body to protect against stomach and colorectal cancer. Evidence shows that garlic can lower cholesterol, may slow the development of hardening of the arteries, and may lower blood pressure.

Tips for using garlic:

Black pepper

Black pepper, probably the most important and popular spice in the world, contains a substance called piperine that gives it its strong flavor. In cell studies, piperine acts as an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. Researchers have found that the combination of curcumin and piperine may work better as active agents in preventing cancer cell growth. This is one example of how scientists are looking at how spices may work together for our health.

Tips for using black pepper:

Foods & Recipes->"Herbs, Spices, & Flavor" Nutrients->Antioxidants
Aug 19, 2022
Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

Start Your Free
Food Diary Today

Sign up Devices