Keeping food fresh fresh, does not mean keeping it real. Often times chemical preservatives are added to keep food from spoiling. However, a new study conducted by researchers at the Miguel Hernández University found that cloves work well as natural antioxidants and can be used to increase the shelf-life of meat and other food. In recent years questions have come up about the toxicity and possible health side-effects of these chemical additives.
The researchers tested the essential oils in four other spices—oregano, thyme, rosemary, and sage—and found that these can also be used as preservatives. Cloves, however, were ranked the best for their high levels of phenolic compounds , which have antioxidant activity. Cloves also reduce lipid oxidation, which is one of the main causes of food deterioration.
Many of the foods we buy in supermarkets contain synthetic antioxidants. The health effects identified in the study could influence the food industry to move in a more natural direction and seek out plant-based products as alternatives to artificial preservatives.
In the meantime,check the labels, some foods have labels that say preservative-free. Keep in mind preservative free foods will spoil quicker, so don’t purchase food too far ahead. For now, the best way to guarantee your food is preservative free is to grow it in your own backyard garden.