A Mediterranean-style diet has proved beneficial in preventing a multitude of health risks including, strokes, brain damage, depression, cancer, heart disease and premature death. Researchers have found adding five common spices to your diet can greatly increase natural antioxidant intake.

Researchers at the Miguel Hernández University (UMH) in Spain published their findings in the January/February 2010 edition of Flavour and Fragrance Journal, a peer-reviewed scientific journal. The study began as a search for alternative, natural antioxidants for extending the shelf life of food products.

The essential oils from cloves, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme were tested and the researchers noted, "the results show that use of the natural oxidants occurring in spices used in the Mediterranean diet, or their extracts, is a viable option for the food industry."

Juana Fernández-López, co-author of the study and researcher at UMH, said, "these substances exhibit high antioxidant capacity, and could have beneficial effects for health".

To spice up your diet, try incorporating rosemary and thyme infused olive oil to your salads and fish dishes. Season meats, vegetable and sweets with cloves and enjoy oregano on veggies and grains.

Full study,"Antioxidant activity of essential oils of five spice plants widely used in a Mediterranean diet": http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/122653630/abstract