The soft, spicy but sweet taste of sage, comes along with numerous health benefits, that place it among the top positions for healthiest spices. Fresh, or dried, with whole leaves or in powder, it is available all year round.
Like rosemary, sage contains a variety of essential oils, flavonoids (including apigenine, luteoline and diostetine) and phenolic acids, named after rosemary, ie. rosemary acids.
Rosemary acid can be absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract and once it gets inside the body, acts to reduce inflammatory reactions by changing the concentrations of inflammatory molecules (such as leukotriene B4). The acid in sage and rosemary also functions as an antioxidant. The leaves and stems of the plant also contain antioxidant enzymes, including superoxide dismutase and peroxidase. When combined, these three components of sage, along with flavonoids, phenolic acids and enzymes that promote the processing of oxygen and provide a unique ability to stabilize the oxygen associated with the metabolism and prevent cell damage. Increased intake of sage as a spice in foods is recommended for people with inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and atherosclerosis. The oils’ ability to protect from oxidation has led some companies to experiment with sage as a natural supplement and antioxidant added to cooking oils that can extend their life and protect them from rancidity.
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As the scent of sage is very delicate, it is best to add the herb at the end of the cooking process so that it can retain its maximum essence.
A few quick ideas for dishes to which you can add it:
• Mix cooked beans with olive oil, sage and garlic.
• Use as a seasoning for tomato sauce.
• Add fresh sage to your omelet.
• Sprinkle it on top of your next piece of pizza.
• When roasting chicken or fish in a baking sheet, place fresh sage inside the food to absorb the flavor of this wonderful herb.