Adding herbs and spices to meals is one of the easiest ways to enhance the flavor of a dish but also give it a nutritional boost.
In addition to adding flavor to a dish, herbs and spices have natural healing properties – from helping boost memory to reducing inflammation to lowering cholesterol and blood pressure. Below are just a few spices you should reach for on a daily basis…
Pepper – capsaicin, the phytonutrient found in ground pepper (red, white or black) appear to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer affects.
Paprika – may help relieve pain or ease inflammation, and may even raise HDL (High density lipoproteins) – aka the good cholesterol.
Dried Italian herbs – a blend of or herbs such as rosemary, thyme, savory, oregano and basil, Italian herb mixes contain potent antioxidants, some of which may help relieve pain and even give your mood a boost.
Oregano – oregano has up to 20 times the antioxidant activity of many other herbs and has potent anti-inflammatory properties.
Garlic –before the introduction of antibiotics, garlic was used as an antiseptic to clean wounds and repel bacteria. Today, garlic is known for its beneficial effects on heart health as garlic may lower cholesterol and blood pressure. Studies also link regular consumption of garlic with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.
Basil – rich in vitamin K which is important for blood coagulation and bone health.
4 simple tips to get you started
- Keep dried herbs on hand but make sure to use them within a year or so – by then they start to lose potency.
- Add Italian herbs to mixed green salads.
- Use oregano and rosemary when grilling meats. It will help reduce the carcinogens formed when cooking meat at high temperatures.
- Add a dash of black pepper to a cup of tea (often black pepper is added to chai) it enhances the antioxidant effects of the tea!