In our last blog, we talked about 5 essential spices that have significant health benefits. This time, we focus on herbs. Herbs are often used as a last-minute garnish to flavor and freshen up meals, and they are a great way to cut down on less-healthy seasonings, such as salt. However, the amazing health benefits of consuming fresh herbs are often overlooked. To fuel more functionally, make sure to include these healing herbs in your diet!
Parlsey is a great source of antioxidants, especially Vitamins A and C, calcium, iron and fiber. It also contains a chemical called apigenin, which has been shown to help inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
This powerful herb can have a beneficial effect on heart health, and can help reduce high blood pressure.
Use it as a chopped garnish on meats, seafood, pasta and salads.
Make it the base of your next pesto
Many studies have shown that peppermint oil has remarkable pain management properties for people with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). It works by relaxing the smooth muscles in the colon and relieving abdominal symptoms and pain that occurs with bowel movements. It can also help reduce abdominal bloating and nausea!
Try a soothing cup of peppermint tea, by steeping 7-10 leaves in hot water for 10 minutes. Add honey or lemon if you wish!
Rosemary contains antioxidants called rosmarinic acid and carnosic acid. These compounds have a vast range of benefits, from suppressing seasonal allergies and nasal congestion to preventing damage to blood vessels. They may also help with memory function and prevent the spread of cancer.
Rosemary goes great with hearty foods, such as meat and potatoes.
When meat is grilled at temperatures of 375-400 degrees F, cancer-causing heterocyclic amines (HCAs) can appear. The antioxidants in rosemary may actually help soak up these dangerous free radicals!
Sage has been used for its healing properties since the middle ages, when it was thought to help prevent the plague. Today, sage essential oil is being researched for its ability to inhibit the break down of acetylcholine, a chemical messenger in the brain. Acetylcholine plays an integral role in the retention and formation of short term memories, and a drop in this neurotransmitter is associated with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Sage has been shown to have powerful benefits in dementia therapy and memory enhancement, even in healthy young adults.
Sage has a strong flavor, so use sparingly
It works well with meat, poultry, eggs, or pasta dishes
5. Stinging Nettle
Probably the most unfamiliar of the herbs on this list, stinging nettle gets its name from the stinging sensation they cause when you brush against them. The resulting tingling, inflammation, and pain can last for several hours! The good news is, once these herbs are cooked, their stinging power is immediately lost. You are left with delicate, nutrient-packed greens that taste like a spinach-cucumber hybrid. They contain powerful anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce the inflammation associated with arthritis. They also may be effective in treating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), a condition that involves the enlargement of the prostate.
Try infusing in hot water to make a healing, anti-inflammatory tea.
Can substitute for spinach in any cooked recipe, including soup, lasagna, or stir-fry
Anything from quickly steaming/blanching the leaves or pureeing into a soup is enough to deactivate the stinging power of nettles
what's your favorite Herb?
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