Following an anti-aging diet can be spicier than you might think—in fact, some might say the spicier the better. Chances are there are a handful of herbs growing in your garden or hanging out in your spice cabinet that can help you improve your health by fighting free radicals, which contribute to chronic disease, damaged skin and other concerns.
Here are 10 natural herbs to add to your anti-aging diet:
1. Milk Thistle
Don’t mistake this for a common weed. Milk thistle can protect the liver from toxins and improve skin complexion by aiding the generation of new skin cells. To cook with milk thistle, cut off the leaves and toss them in with mashed potatoes or stir-fried veggies.
This root can fight against high blood pressure and bad cholesterol, but it is also known to help with stress reduction and to promote cognition—all of which works to maintain good mental and physical health. Try adding ground ginseng to your tea.
3. Italian seasoning
This is a common dried spice mixture you can find at your local grocery store. It is comprised of spices like basil, oregano, marjoram, rosemary and thyme. Combined, these herbs pack a special punch of protection against cellular damage from free radicals.
When used on its own, thyme can help protect you from bacterial infections, including pneumonia and staph infections. Add thyme to your protein before cooking or mix it into your potatoes.
This herb fights inflammation in the body and can help protect against arthritis, asthma and heart disease. Sage goes great with potatoes and can be added to soups and proteins.
Considered one of the most beneficial anti-aging spices available, turmeric has properties that are associated with lowered risk of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Most of the credit for turmeric’s anti-aging properties is given to curcumin, the element that gives this spice its yellow color. Turmeric is often found in Indian cuisine and is great when added to rice, broccoli and soups.
7. Ginkgo biloba
This common herb is often compounded into an oral supplement for cognitive health. It is specifically associated with increased memory. This herb contains helpful antioxidants that improve blood flow to the brain. In addition to vitamins, ginkgo biloba can be found in some teas.
8. Pine bark
Though you shouldn’t just go out and start chewing on trees, the bark of pine trees is known to strengthen the veins and arteries and fight inflammation, thereby improving blood circulation and reducing joint pain. Pine bark is often found in specialty teas.
With a taste similar to cinnamon, cloves can be added to desserts or sprinkled on healthy fruits for added flavor. Cloves have mild pain relieving properties and are often recommended to help soothe toothaches, sore throats and other oral pain.
Once more valuable than gold, this common spice fights inflammation and can act as a mild pain reliever. Sprinkle some cinnamon on your sweet potatoes with dinner, stir it in with your oatmeal or add it to your apples or pears for a healthy snack.
These herbs aren’t going to turn back the clock, but when added to a healthy diet and active lifestyle, they may help you postpone some of the most common signs and symptoms of age.