Are you looking to live a healthier life or want to add more healthy choices to your routine? Your next step could literally be right under your nose.
Culinary herbs and spices are packed with beneficial properties that prevent illness, aid in longevity and also taste great. There’s no need to go bland with your diet if you’re aiming for optimal health. To the contrary, you may want to spice it up a bit.
Here are eight culinary herbs that can boost your health and enhance your meals.
Spearmints, peppermints and other mints are all known for their digestive benefits. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it’s called “Bo He” and is used for internal heat conditions like acid reflux, upset stomach, nausea and headaches. Mint is great in summer salads, as an addition to lemonade, or as the leading ingredient in chutney for a savory dish.
Ginger root is an excellent digestive herb. It soothes the stomach and stimulates peristalsis which relieves constipation, and may ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Ginger is also considered a medicinal herb in TCM. It’s known as “Sheng Jiang” and is used to harmonize all digestive organs. You can add it to sautéed vegetables or a stir-fry, put it through your juicer with other produce, or simply steep it in hot water for ginger tea.
Turmeric has rapidly grown in popularity for its ability to reduce inflammation and improve joints. It also contains a cancer-fighting compound called curcumin. This root is one of the main ingredients in a curry paste. It can also be added to a simple pan of sauté vegetables which adds flavor and a beautiful bright mustard color.
Garlic has been long revered as a cold remedy for its immune boosting properties. It can also assist in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. Further, studies show that just 2 fresh cloves a week will provide anti-cancer benefits. It’s found in nearly every recipe book including French, Italian, Spanish and Mediterranean cuisines. You can also simply roast whole bulbs in the oven with a little oil and salt.
Oregano is a super herb that can be found as a stand alone medicinal tincture. Its oil and leaves can treat cough, fever, congestion, body ache and illness. It’s very high in antioxidants and can also fight against food-borne pathogens. Add this flavorful herb to soups, stews and pasta dishes.
Basil has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties and can help prevent osteoarthritis. Use basil in a caprese salad, in pesto, or with mint to flavor a sparkling strawberry mocktail.
Sage is considered a brain stimulant, a good antioxidant and is also an anti-inflammatory, which can help delay degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Try combining sage with butter to create a spread for poultry dishes.
Cilantro is one of the richest herbal sources for vitamin K, which is essential in keeping bones strong especially in our later years. It’s also very rich in vitamin A which is important in maintaining healthy eyesight. Add cilantro to your favorite salsa or pad thai noodle dish.
Above all, have fun with your flavors and find comfort in knowing your tasty cuisine is doing your body good. Living a healthy lifestyle is one of variety and palette pleasing joy.
Written By Sarah Lange, courtesy photo