The leaf of a plant used in cooking is generally referred to as a culinary herb; any other part of the plant, such as the buds, bark, roots, berries, seeds, and stigma of a flower is called a spice.
Herbs are usually considered as a plant with aromatic properties and are mainly used to spice foods and herbal teas. Herbs also contain many phytochemicals , and are considered foods high in antioxidants.
The herbs with the highest level of antioxidants contain 1000 times more antioxidants than herbs at the lowest end of the spectrum.
The levels of antioxidants found in culinary herbs are influenced by crop year and season of harvesting. Research (Journal of Nutrition 2003, May: 133(5): 1286-90) has concluded that the intake of herbs contribute significantly to the overall daily intake of antioxidants. Intake of 1 gram of culinary herbs may contain 1 mmol of antioxidants.
As a result, antioxidants in herbs and spices are even a better source of antioxidants than other foods such as fruit, vegetables, and cereals. For example, 1 tsp of oregano is equivalent to 3 cups of chopped broccoli. And one teaspoon of ground cinnamon has the equivalent level of antioxidants as a half cup of blueberries and one cup of pomegranate juice.
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