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Have You Had Your Healthy Boost Today?

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Thai Beef Salad
Salmon With Basil Vinaigrette
Lemon Grass and Chicken Soup

(Family Features) - Did you know that herbs and spices contain high concentrations of antioxidants and phytonutrients that may provide long-term health benefits? Just a dash or a pinch of these flavor powerhouses can give your body - and your taste buds - a daily boost of good health.

The leaf of a plant is an herb and any other part of the plant, often dried, is a spice. Spices can be the buds (cloves), bark (cinnamon), roots (ginger), berries (peppercorns), fruit (chili peppers), aromatic seeds (cumin) and even the stigma of a flower (saffron).

Herbs such as oregano, parsley, lemon grass, cilantro, dill and basil are rich in antioxidant phytonutrients, such as flavonoids, the same type of compounds found in red wine or grapes. Spices like chili peppers contain capsaicin, garlic has allicin and ginger is full of gingerols. The intense concentrations of phytonutrients and antioxidants in herbs and spices help lower cholesterol levels, help fight against cancer, help relieve arthritis and boost the immune system.

Five easy ways to get a healthy boost

  • Make your own ginger tea. Ginger aids digestion and eases colds and nausea. Add finely grated ginger or ginger paste to your favorite tea, add boiling water and steep as usual. Strain before serving.
  • Stir up an easy, low-fat sauce to go with grilled food by adding finely chopped garlic or garlic paste to yogurt. Garlic may help support cardiovascular health.
  • Start the morning with a boost. Add finely chopped herbs or herb pastes - a good source of antioxidants - to your scrambled eggs.
  • Mix up quick guacamole. Add chili peppers (rich in capsaicin, an anti-inflammatory) and cilantro and garlic pastes (good sources of antioxidants) to peeled, ripe avocados, then mash together with lemon or lime juice. Season to taste.
  • Bake up a boost. If you make your own bread, add some finely chopped herbs or herb paste during the end of the dough preparation.

For more recipes and information on fresh herbs and spices in an easy-to-squeeze tube, visit www.gourmetgarden.com. Gourmet Garden products are available in the fresh produce section of leading supermarkets.

Thai Beef Salad

  • 9 ounces boneless sirloin or beef tenderloin
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces baby arugula or spinach leaves
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon bottled nam pla or Vietnamese fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Gourmet Garden Garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Gourmet Garden Cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon Gourmet Garden Chili
  • Pepper
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    1. Grill steak to desired doneness. Set aside.
    2. Combine cherry tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and salad greens.
    3. Whisk together soy sauce, lemon juice, fish sauce and herbs.
    4. Toss salad dressing with greens and arrange on each plate. Top with sliced steak.
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Serves 4
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Salmon With Basil Vinaigrette

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 pound baby spinach
  • 4 6-ounce salmon fillets
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Gourmet Garden Basil
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    1. Melt butter in a skillet over high heat. Add spinach and toss 2 to 3 minutes, until wilted.
    2. Brush an indoor grill pan or outdoor grill grates with oil. Preheat on medium-high. Grill salmon 3 to 4 minutes per side.
    3. Meanwhile, in a bowl whisk olive oil, vinegar and basil and season to taste.
    4. Serve salmon on a bed of wilted spinach drizzled with basil vinaigrette. Accompany with mashed or baked potatoes, if desired.
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Serves 4

Lemon Grass and Chicken Soup

  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 4 boneless chicken thighs, thinly sliced
  • 1 11-ounce can cream-style corn
  • 1 tablespoon Gourmet Garden Lemon Grass
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 12 fresh asparagus tips
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    1. Bring chicken stock to a boil.
    2. Add chicken and creamed corn. Simmer 20 minutes.
    3. Stir in lemon grass.
    4. Just before serving, stir in soy sauce and top with asparagus tips.

Serves 4 to 6

SOURCE: Gourmet Garden

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