Staying Young

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AGE ARRESTERS

Antioxidant is the magic word this century. Antioxidants trap molecules known as free radicals. If left to float freely in the body, these free radicals react with proteins, fats and nucleic acids to cause changes that can lead to heart disease, cancer and other degenerative diseases. By halting oxidation, antioxidants actually reduce the effects of growing older.
The antioxidant properties of herbs are just one of the many health benefits of using them in daily food preparations. If you want to catch a glimpse of the damage molecules of oxygen can do, slice an apple and let it sit for an hour. The loss of firm texture and brown discolouration is oxidation in action.

Youthful Rosemary

Rosemary is an evergreen shrubby herb with aromatic linear leaves and periwinkle blue blossoms. It has been extensively cultivated in kitchen gardens and used by cooks in soups, stews, casseroles and as a therapeutic tea. The evergreen-like leaves contain flavonoids that have antioxidant properties. Researchers in Japan have found that carnosol and carsonic acid, two compounds found in rosemary, help protect body tissue and cells against oxidative stresses that have been linked to aging. Commission E, the worldwide authority on herbs, recommends the use of rosemary for circulation problems such as low blood pressure or for painful muscles and joints--so spike up the flavour of your roasted veggies or soups with this youth-preserving herb. Rosemary tea made from dried leaves aids in digestion.

Magical Sage

There is a folkloric belief that the hairy leaves of common garden sage have magical qualities. Sage, an effective antioxidant grown in the temperate parts of Europe and North America is used widely as a household remedy for several purposes: sage tea as a remedy for menopausal night sweats; liquid preparations to relieve inflammations of the oral cavity; as an aid in drying up mother's milk at the end of nursing and particularly as an anhidrotic (reduces or stops perspiration). Rudolph Breuss, author of The Breuss Cancer Cure, says that anyone who drinks sage tea will never be sick!

Fruits Halt Aging

That fruit bowl on your kitchen table is another great source of age-fighting antioxidants. Certain fruits act as antioxidants due to their OPC (oligomeric proanthocyanidin content) as well as having the extra benefit of high concentrations of vitamin C. Fresh sour cherries are loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Not only do they make great pies, they have been known to assist in reducing the swelling related to arthritis and gout.

The American cranberry, long known for its pleasant flavour, has become a mainstay in sauces, relishes and jellies. This colourful fruit is helpful in preventing and treating urinary tract infections prevalent among women. Cranberry juice inhibits the ability of micro-organisms to adhere to the cells lining the urinary tract, thereby rendering the environment less suitable for certain bacteria to grow. Cranberries also contain various carbohydrates and fibre as well as plant acids. It's a tasteful topping for yogurt or kefir anytime.

Jennifer Farnell is a writer with a background in practical nursing.
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By Jennifer Farnell

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