Antioxidants are the primary source of the health benefits of sage. Like rosemary, another member of the mint family, sage contains a variety of antioxidants — in the form of volatile oils, flavonoids and phenolic acids.
Sage also contains several antioxidant enzymes, including superoxide dismutase (SOD) and peroxidase. Combined, these components of sage give it a unique capacity for providing benefits associated with foods rich in antioxidants.
It's a little-known fact that herbs (and spices) such as sage have much greater concentrations of antioxidants than any common fruit or vegetable source. Herbs also contain a particularly wide variety of antioxidants as well, making them one of the top antioxidant foods around.
Antioxidants are nutrient compounds found in virtually all plant foods (and also manufactured in your body). The primary job of antioxidants is to protect your cells against the oxidative stress caused by free radicals, considered to be the primary cause of the aging process.
Protecting yourself against free radicals with antioxidants is the most effective way to reduce the risk of many health problems associated with aging. The benefits of antioxidants include powerful protection against all types of degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, macular degeneration, Alzheimer's disease, and many more.
Antioxidants work together, synergistically, and each one has its own specific characteristics and benefits. One antioxidant may work in places in the body where another one can't go, and neutralize free radicals that other antioxidants miss. Therefore, getting the widest variety of antioxidants is just as important as how much of any one antioxidant you get. See my page on How Do Antioxidants Work? to learn more about this.
Sage contains rosmarinic acid, which is a potent antioxidant as well as anti-inflammatory agent. Rosmarinic acid can be readily absorbed and acts to reduce harmful inflammation. Increased intake of sage as a seasoning in food is recommended for persons with inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, as well as bronchial asthma and atherosclerosis.
Research confirms what herbalists have long known: sage is an outstanding memory enhancer. Sage helps provide better brain function and has been used in the treatment of cerebrovascular disease for over a thousand years. Research has suggested that it may be an effective option to help treat Alzheimer`s disease.
The benefits of sage are effective for symptoms of menopause, night sweats and hot flashes. There's also compelling evidence that sage may provide benefits for some people with diabetes by its ability to boost insulin's action.
The health benefits of sage are so numerous, ideally you'd want to have some every day. However, as with any herb or spice, you may find it impractical to include sage in your meal plans that often. There's an easy way to accomplish this, though — by making yourself a fresh smoothie every day and adding some sage and other spices to your recipe.
Fresh smoothies make for some of the most nutritious, delicious and easy-to-make meals you could imagine. They're a great way to get more of those "good for you" antioxidant-rich foods (that you may not get enough of) into your diet.
I personally use herbs such as basil, cilantro and parsley in my green smoothie recipes to give them more of the benefits of dark green leafy vegetables. Because they're so concentrated with antioxidants, you can use a much smaller amount than you would with other greens like kale or spinach, and they won't overwhelm the flavor of your smoothie recipe.
I don't stop there, either. I like to use other spices such as cinnamon, cloves, ginger, turmeric and others in my smoothie recipes, mostly for their added antioxidant benefits. Once they're blended in with all the other ingredients, you can't really distinguish any one particular taste. You just need to experiment a little to get the flavor just right for you.
To learn more about the art of making smoothies, skip on over to my page on How to Make a Smoothie the Healthy Way and learn all my tricks for making delicious and nutritious smoothies!
To learn more about sage and ways to use it, check out
The World's Healthiest Foods/Sage.
If you want to get all of the health benefits of sage, you'll want to stay away from typical supermarket brands of bottled spices. Most of them are irradiated in order to destroy microorganisms, bacteria, and viruses that might be present. Irradiation, however, damages the integrity of the spice — destroying vitamins, minerals, proteins and other beneficial micronutrients. Irradiation also creates more free radicals, just the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish by eating spices.
Fortunately, I've got a wonderful online source for premium-quality organic spices — Starwest Botanicals.
Starwest Botanicals started as a small retail herb shop in 1975 in Sacramento, California. From the beginning, their focus has been on quality; they source their products directly from around the world and process them in-house with their own herb mill to have more control over the finished product.
The Starwest company actively supports sustainable organic farming; as much as possible, they select ingredients from natural renewable sources and use renewable sources of energy.
Click on any of the following links to get more information
on the health benefits of specific herbs and spices:
Protect the Future of Your Food Supply