You know those mixes you buy at the store? Do you actually know what’s in them? And are they really worth the price you pay? Typically, spice mixes have processed ingredients added to them. They might not be harmful, but they’re not necessary. Besides the fact, you can make many of the typical blends much cheaper at home!
Spices are a great way to boost your phytochemical intake!
As a reminder, phytochemicals are naturally occurring plant chemicals that provide plants with color, smell and flavor. Once we eat those phytochemicals, research shows they can influence the chemical processes inside our bodies in many different beneficial ways. The great thing about spices is that they can also add flavor to your food and help you cut back on the amount of added salt, sugar and fat.
Oregano (Photo credit: Joi)
The following spice mix recipes both contain oregano. Of all the dried herbs, oregano has one of the highest antioxidant levels. According to www.spicesforhealth.com, one teaspoon of dried oregano leaves has as many antioxidants as three ounces of almonds and ½ cup of chopped asparagus.
Imagine if you had 1/2 cup of asparagus topped with almonds and a teaspoon of oregano. Who knows if it would taste good, but that would be one heck of a cancer fighting side dish!!
The active compound in oregano that appears to have the strong antioxidant activity is Rosmarinic acid. Many of the studies on oregano have focused on the antimicrobial properties that help fight the growth of bacteria and parasites.
Because of the high antioxidant level of oregano, researchers are continuing to explore the use of oregano in various food applications to inhibit bacterial growth. One lab study examined the antimicrobial effects of oregano on the bacteria associated with ulcers.
(PS – Oregano is pretty easy to grow in your own yard or in a pot. What’s better than fresh herbs available at all times!?!)
Remember that all herbs and spices contain phytochemicals, not just oregano. As I like to say, If it’s a plant, and you can eat it, AND IT’S LEGAL! – it’s giving you phytochemicals. 🙂
Taco Seasoning Recipe:
- 1/4 cup Chili Powder
- 1/4 cup Cumin Powder
- 1 tablespoon Garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon Onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Oregano leaf (or oregano leaf powder)
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
Instructions: Put all in jar and shake well. Store in an airtight jar for up to six months. Makes approximately 1 cup. To use: sprinkle on ground beef, chicken or tofu as you would any store bought taco seasoning. 3 tablespoons is the same as 1 packet of store bought taco seasoning. Easy!!
Italian Seasoning Recipe:
- 1/2 cup Basil leaf
- 1/2 cup Marjoram Leaf
- 1/2 cup Oregano leaf
- 1/4 cup cut and sifted Rosemary Leaf
- 1/4 cup Thyme Leaf
- 2 tablespoons Garlic Powder (if you usually cook with garlic, you can probably leave this out of your mix)
Instructions: Place all herbs in a jar and shake well. Great in any Italian recipes such as Spaghetti, Lasagna, Eggplant Parmesan, etc.
Spice Mixes Make Great Gifts!
Let me know how you like them! These mixes could make great gifts – just buy the spices in bulk and make a bunch of mixes for your friends and family.
For more spice mix recipes, check out WellnessMama’s page with 14 different spice mix recipes.