Review The Parsley Porch
The Best Spices At Great Prices

Health Benefits of Dried Herbs & Spices

Allow me to take off my “Parsley Porch” spice cap and put on my old lab coat which I wore as a biochemistry, biology, anatomy & physiology and ecology teacher.  Many people sell spices as do all of my vendors but few have a Master’s Degree +60 in biological sciences.  Botany is the study of plants and at least a unit in every class that I taught in my 41 years of education included plants and their impact on human health.  Everything that we sell at The Parsley Porch, LLC is a plant product coming from roots, stems, leaves, fruits or seeds.  All herbs & spices come from plants which means they are a source of healthy phytonutrients.  Plants don’t make these chemicals for us, they make them because it helps them survive bacteria, fungi and viral infections and by including them in our diet they help animals, including us, do the same.  Many phytonutrients can be very concentrated and have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties rendering superstar status as dietary inclusions.  While anti-cancer properties are easily understood by most, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties are less understood. 

Chronic inflammation has been deemed as a major factor of all modern-day diseases.  ACUTE inflammation can be helpful since it is temporary.  An ankle sprain, a bee sting, a pimple or even the common cold are examples of our immune systems acting to mobilize the body defenses and accelerate healing and the good news is that it usually works very well.  However, CHRONIC inflammation is long term and always harmful and potentially deadly.  Osteoarthritis, type-1 diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease are a few of many consequences of chronic inflammation.

Where do antioxidants come into play in terms of health and wellness?  Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit or stop oxidation which means damaging and aging of cells.  They are powerful destroyers of “free radicals” which are natural molecules that are produced by our everyday metabolism but also by environmental stresses such as poor diet, air pollution, smoking, emotional and physical stresses.  Could Covid-19 provide emotional and physical distress and create more free radicals?  No question!  Antioxidants play a vital role by seeking out free radicals, neutralizing their harmful effects and protecting our cells, tissues and systems.  Herbs & spices are the most potent antioxidant foods on the planet that can be easily added to numerous dishes and are not just beneficial for flavor but also very healthy additions to the diet. Which spices are the superstars of antioxidants?  The list may surprise you

1.Cloves: whether ground or whole are loaded with antioxidants.  A ½ tsp of cloves has more antioxidants than a ½ cup of blueberries.  There are many ways to get them into your diet but at The Parsley Porch, LLC we have 3 delicious blends that contain cloves in the recipe.  Pumpkin Pie Spice is a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, ginger and cloves.  Besides pumpkin pie, try it in cookies, coffee, tea and apple cider.  Chinese 5 spice is a blend that also contains cloves.  Personally, it is a theme in a Asian dish that has chicken pieces cooked in a sauce with 5 spice and then a 1/2 tsp added to the rice water before cooking and finally lightly sprinkled on a stir fry melange of snow peas, sliced carrots and water chestnuts.  5 spice makes the entire meal deliciously different.  Garam masala is a blend that is a vibrant cousin of curry and used in the increasing popularity of Indian dishes and contains cloves.

2.Peppermint: while used in many meat and vegetable recipes this delightful, flavorful herb makes a great tea either added or by itself.  Hot or cold, it is an easy, refreshing and delicious way to add antioxidants to your diet.

3.Allspice: is a strong, warming spice loaded with antioxidants.  It is in many Parsley Porch custom blends including our Jerk seasoning, which is great for marinades and rubs.  Try allspice in homemade soups and stews.  It also gives a depth of flavor to cooked fruits and desserts.

4. Cinnamon: is one of our best-selling spices by itself but is a strong contributor in many of our Parsley Porch custom blends.  Apple Pie Spice, Pumpkin Pie Spice, Grilling Rub, Pickling Spice, Deli BBQ Rub, Five Spice, Jerk Seasoning, Garam Masala, and Mulling Spices incorporate cinnamon in their recipes.  I have our premium “Saigon Cinnamon” almost every morning on my oatmeal.  Another benefit of cinnamon is that it helps regulate blood sugar and this allows me to make it to lunch without hunger pangs.  Don’t forget that The Parsley Porch, LLC has the antioxidant benefits of cinnamon available in many forms.  Cinnamon sticks, cinnamon extract and cinnamon oil all are healthy applications in our diet.

5. Oregano: Dried oregano seems to be far more concentrated with antioxidants than fresh leaves. It is an absolute mainstay in Italian cooking, at home in a long-cooking tomato sauce but just as welcome to finish off a frozen pizza in a pinch. Its culinary soulmate is basil, so consider sprinkling salads with dried oregano before digging in.  Personally, I have a salad most evenings and always generously apply Parsley Porch Italian Seasoning which contains oregano, thyme and rosemary which are loaded with antioxidants as well as basil and parsley to round out the mouthwatering aroma and flavor.

6. Thyme: As with peppermint and oregano, dried thyme had more antioxidants than samples of fresh thyme. It is an incredibly floral herb that pairs best with rosemary, sage, lavender, and lemon (Parsley {Porch Herbs de Provence spice blend combines many of these flavors). 

7. Sage: Dried sage another spice with a strong flavor to approach with a “less is more” mindset. Rosemary and sage make a classic flavor pairing for poultry. Adding it to bread dough or cornbread mix will provide an earthy aroma and flavor to homemade breads or biscuits.

8. Rosemary: Rosemary is a piney, lemony flavor and a dramatic looking herb. Spiky and bright green, it is often used fresh. But – you guessed it – there are more antioxidants in a dried version. It pairs well with strong flavors like tomato, garlic, onions, and other alliums, like chives, shallots, and scallions.  Pair rosemary with fish, grains, mushrooms, and starchy vegetables like potatoes and peas. While I don’t make home fried potatoes often, when I do, I always add either freshly chopped rosemary or Parsley Porch Cracked Rosemary especially if time is a factor or during winter.

9. Turmeric: Why is turmeric listed last?  Publicized as a spice with extraordinary antioxidant power, it is currently being studied extensively for possible health benefits. Compared to the average antioxidant concentrations of the above spices, turmeric only contains 31% of the antioxidants that rosemary, #8 on the list, contains. Does that mean it is not useful?  Definitely not: turmeric contains a unique antioxidant called curcumin, which is being explored for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Having had 4 back surgeries, and both knees replaced I actually take a turmeric OTC product which is 75% curcumin.  I have more arthritis than a nursing home and find relief from taking it in a capsulated form.   While expensive, the nutritionist at our local drug store says this supplement “flies off the shelf”.  Parsley Porch Turmeric is inexpensive and might be an affordable way of treating your arthritis.  Go to our website, click on “Blog” and among “other helpful links”  you will see a link to “50 Amazing Turmeric Recipes”.  Bon appetit!

Review The Parsley Porch