Superfoods That Begin with “R” – Rosemary
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a fragrant evergreen herb native to the Mediterranean. It has leaves shaped like needles, and pink, white, blue, or purple flowers. Rosemary is used as a culinary condiment, to make perfumes, and for its potential health benefits.
The herb not only tastes good in culinary dishes such as rosemary chicken, it is also a good source of iron, calcium, and vitamin B6. It is typically prepared as a dried whole herb or a dried powdered extract, while teas and liquid extracts are made from fresh or dried leaves.
Rosemary is a member of the mint family, along with many other herbs, such as oregano, thyme, basil, and lavender. The name rosemary derives from the Latin ros meaning “dew” and marinus meaning “sea” – “sea dew.”
Possible health benefits of rosemary:
Rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds – these are thought to help boost the immune system and improve blood circulation. Laboratory studies have shown rosemary to be rich in antioxidants, which play an important role in neutralizing harmful particles called free radicals.
Improving digestion – In Europe rosemary is often used to help treat indigestion – Germany’s Commission E has approved it for the treatment of dyspepsia.
Enhancing memory and concentration – blood levels of a rosemary oil compound correlate with improved cognitive performance according to research in Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology.
Neurological protection – scientists have found that rosemary is also good for your brain. Rosemary contains an ingredient called carnosic acid, that is able to fight off free radical damage in the brain. The carnosic acid found in this spice has been shown to reduce stroke risk in mice by 40 percent, according to a study published in the Journal of Neurochemistry. Carnosic acid appears to set off a process that shields brain cells from free-radical damage, which can worsen the effects of a stroke. It can also protect against degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and the general effects of aging.
Cancer – Research published in Oncolocy Reports found that “crude ethanolic rosemary extract (RO) has differential anti-proliferative effects on leukemia and breast cancer cells.
Protection against macular degeneration – Carnosic acid, can significantly improve eye health. This could have clinical applications for diseases affecting the outer retina, such as age-related macular degeneration – the most common eye disease in the U.S.
Other benefits – Rosemary was traditionally used to help alleviate muscle pain, improve memory, boost the immune and circulatory system, and promote hair growth.
Food scientists have discovered that the popular culinary herbs rosemary, oregano and marjoram contain compounds that may have the potential to manage type 2 diabetes in a similar way to some currently prescribed drugs.
Swimming in resveratrol—a natural compound that lowers LDL, raises HDL, and prevents blood clots—red wine can truly be a lifesaver. A recent review in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, for instance, suggests that resveratrol may prevent or delay the onset of chronic disease. But limit your intake to two drinks a day. According to a study of 6,000 patients in the Journal of the American Medical Association, you’re 97 percent more likely to reach your 85th birthday if you keep your daily alcohol consumption to fewer than three drinks. Vin rouge is also a rich source of flavonoids, antioxidants that help protect the lining of blood vessels in your heart, and may make you less likely to die of cardiovascular disease, according to Japanese researchers.
Other R Superfoods
By Kathy Casey