The ticket to a long life may be growing in your herb garden. In Acciaroli, a hamlet in Southern Italy, a potent variety of rosemary appears in nearly every dish. Residents regularly live to 100 or older, are less likely to develop heart disease and other age-related diseases, and have exceptional brain function into their second century. Scientists from the University of California at San Diego and Rome’s Sapienza University think rosemary is one reason.

Cleveland Clinic registered dietitian Kristin Kirkpatrick says the benefits of fresh rosemary are linked to the essential oils it contains. She estimates that consuming 2 tablespoons of any variety of the herb, whether cooked or raw, a few times a week is enough to see health benefits.

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