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8 High-Antioxidant Herbs and Spices

Updated on April 16, 2017

Antioxidants Are Awesome!

Thanks to the Internet, today there is a general awareness about antioxidants and their immense health benefits. Another good news is that now there is a unit to measure antioxidant content in foods. It is ORAC score.

Antioxidants Promote Wellness


ORAC Score

ORAC, which is the acronym for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, is the unit to measure antioxidant content in foods. It was developed by the National Institute of Aging at the National Institutes of Health. ORAC helps you identify high antioxidant herbs and spices.

8 Herbs and Spices That Are Packed With Powerful Antioxidants

An herb is a plant whose stem above the ground does not become woody. Herbs are valued for their medicinal, savoury and aromatic qualities. A spice is a plant substance that is used for flavouring, coloring or preserving food. Spices have immense health benefits.

Here are eight herbs and spices that are loaded with antioxidants, with their ORAC score.

1. Clove

With an ORAC score of 314,446, this immensely popular aromatic spice is an excellent source of antioxidants. It contains many flavonoids (plant compounds), including kaempferol and rhamnetin.

A research study conducted at the Miguel Hernandez University found that cloves, which inhibit the DPPH radical, are the best natural antioxidant.



2. Cinnamon

Cinnamon has an ORAC score of 267,537. In a research study that compared the antioxidant activity of more than 25 spices, this powerful spice was a clear winner. It outranked superfoods like oregano and garlic.



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3. Oregano

In a research study, on a per gram fresh weight basis, this perennial herb ranks higher in antioxidant activity than many vegetables and fruits. ORAC score: 159,277.



4. Turmeric

This bright yellow aromatic rhizome's ORAC score is 102,700. Turmeric's antioxidant properties are due to the presence of curcumin in it. Curcumin is the principal curcuminoid of this superfood.


Image by Sanjay Acharya.
Image by Sanjay Acharya. | Source

5. Cocoa

This dark brown powder made from cocoa beans has made it to the list with an ORAC score of 80,933. Cocoa is rich in flavonoids known as catechins, which are powerful antioxidants.

Cocoa Powder


6. Cumin

Cumins are aromatic seeds of a plant belonging to the parsley family. Cumin, a popular spice, contains a high concentration of antioxidant compounds. Its ORAC score is 76,800.



7. Dried Parsley

Parsley is a biennial plant with white flowers and aromatic leaves. Dried parsley has an ORAC score of 74,349. Luteolin (a flavonoid) in dried parsley is a powerful antioxidant.

Dried Parsley

Image by Miansari66
Image by Miansari66 | Source

8. Basil

Basil deserves the title "King of Herbs". This royal herb has an ORAC score of 67,553. It contains flavonoids like vicenin, orientin, eugenol and anthocyanins. All these and many other essential nutrients make basil a superfood. Basil is virtually calorie-free.



5 High-Antioxidant Herbs and Spices

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ORAC Score
Should they not be part of your diet?


  • ORAC score is the unit to measure antioxidant content in foods.
  • ORAC score of clove 314,446.
  • Oregano ranks higher in antioxidant activity than many fruits and vegetables
  • Turmeric's antioxidant properties are due to the presence of curcumin in it.
  • Cumins are aromatic seeds of a plant that belongs to the parsley family.

All those spices and herbs in your spice rack can do more than provide calorie-free, natural flavorings to enhance and make food delicious. They're also an incredible source of antioxidants and help rev up your metabolism and improve your health at the same time.

— Suzanne Somers


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