Perk up your meals and fight forgetfulness with this herbal hero

Photo: Mike Lorrig

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Keep forgetting where you left your keys? Extracts from sage (Salvia officinalis) have been shown to improve memory recall. The high concentration of antioxidants, such as rosmarinic acid, in the aromatic leaves can help reduce DNA oxidative damage, thereby improving brain function. Naturally occurring chemicals in sage (such as oleanolic and ursolic acids) also have strong antibacterial qualities, potentially helping to reduce numbers of food-borne pathogens, including dangerous E. coli. Imbibing sage tea daily for four weeks has been reported to improve blood cholesterol numbers. To brew a cup, steep a few fresh leaves or 1 teaspoon dried sage for 5 minutes.

Choose It & Use It

For the brightest flavor, choose fresh sage over dried whenever possible. Look for soft, silvery green leaves free of brown spots. Try in bean casseroles, cooked grains, roasted vegetables, and marinades. Surprisingly, simmering sage, as you would in soups and stews, has been found to increase its antioxidant capacity.

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