If You Do One Thing This Month...Cook With Fresh Herbs

Starting a meal with salad is smart, but enhancing it with fresh herbs is even smarter. "We tend to view them as a garnish, but they're also a great source of antioxidants," says Elizabeth Somer, R.D., author of 10 Habits That Mess Up a Woman's Diet (McGraw-Hill). Compared with certain fruits and veggies, some herbs have more than 10 times the amount of these cancer- and heart-disease-fighting compounds, according to recent studies. "Consider fresh herbs a grocery-cart staple, just like lettuce or baby carrots," she says.

Using herbs in dishes already loaded with antioxidants can result in a powerful synergy, reveals a recent report in the British Journal of Nutrition. Including marjoram in a salad with antioxidant-rich tomatoes, extra-virgin olive oil, and wine vinegar increases the total antioxidant content by about 200 percent; including lemon balm boosts it 150 percent. And you don't need a ton--a few sprigs with most meals is plenty. To get your daily dose, mix mint into your morning smoothie or tuck basil into a sandwich. The Top Disease Fighters


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