Ingredient of the Month: Rosemary

(Rosemary by rosmary/Flickr Creative Commons)

(Rosemary by rosmary/Flickr Creative Commons)

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a woody herb that can be used year round. It’s native to the Mediterranean and thrives in full sun environments (according to my Botany professor and the Old Farmer’s Almanac). It’s also a delicious addition to your seasoning collection (especially the fresh kind!).

Rosemary has powerful antioxidant effects and has been shown to fight AGEs (Advanced Glycation End-products) in a clinical study done in vitro (that means in a test tube, folks! So, we do have to take this with a grain of salt) [1].This is important  not only because AGEs (as implied) lead to older-looking skin, but also because they are associated with diabetes.

We’ve talked about AGEs before, but for those needing a quick refresher: they are made when a carbohydrate is added to a protein without an enzyme. In diabetes, hemoglobin is glycated, and in skin, it’s often collagen. AGEs can be ingested (with our food–for instance, fried foods have more AGEs than boiled foods) or made in our bodies, and they are reactive molecules. This means that they are involved in inflammation and other damage. As one study put it, “Aging is the progressive accumulation of damage to an organism over time leading to disease and death” [2].

Rosemary’s antioxidant and anti-AGE properties are impressive and well-worth adding to your cooking (off-setting some AGE production, maybe?). Rosemary is delicious on all things roasted, from chicken to root vegetables. It’s great as a flavor agent in marinades. My favorite way to use it is to chop up fresh rosemary nice and fine, mince some garlic, add in olive oil, and add it to shrimp or scallops as a marinade or over some veggies I plan on baking or sauteing.

Additional Works Cited

[1] Btissam, Ramdan, et al. “In Vitro Study Of Anti-Glycation And Radical Scavenging Activities Of The Essential Oils Of Three Plants From Morocco: Origanum Compactum, Rosmarinus Officinalis And Pelargonium Asperum.” Pharmacognosy Journal 7.2 (2015): 124-135.

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