Herbs Boost Your Health

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An ounce of oregano, a dash of dill, and a tablespoon of thyme could be a recipe for better health, say researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They have found that herbs are an abundant source of antioxidants and cancer-fighting compounds. In fact, many herbs are richer sources of antioxidants, which are thought to lower the risk of stroke, cancer, and heart disease, than fruits and vegetables, says Shiow Y. Wang, PhD, a USDA scientist and lead author of a report in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. "Some herbs should be considered as regular vegetables," he maintains. He and his colleagues studied the antioxidant activity of 39 commonly used herbs grown in the same location and under the same conditions. Oregano came in first, with 3 to 20 times more antioxidant activity than the other herbs studied. One tablespoon of oregano contains as much antioxidant activity as an apple. Dill, thyme, rosemary, and peppermint also fared well in the tests.