Herbs are certainly more than meets the eye, or the mouth! They are the leaf portion of the plant that can be used fresh or dried. They can be used in culinary settings to add color and flavor to your meals without adding sugar, salt, or fat! They can also be used for medicinal or preservative purposes. Today, we are fortunate enough to have access to these herbs that are grown around the world. This gives us the opportunity to reap the health-promoting benefits that come with each of them such as being packed with antioxidants, protecting our bodies against cancer-causing compounds, and antiviral effects. Using herbs in our meals can be such a simple yet highly effective method of making the most out of our food. Let’s take a closer look to learn about these powerful plants.
Garlic may be one of the more popular culinary herbs probably due to its versatility. It can be found in its natural form as well as a dried spice or wet paste. Its components hold cancer-fighting properties like allicin, allicin, quercetin, allyl sulfides, and organosulfur compounds. Consuming garlic may also provide help with lowering cholesterol and blood pressure while having an anti-clotting effect as well. Garlic goes well with anything from soups and sauce to poultry and shellfish!
Rosemary is another herb that is renowned for having medicinal properties. It contains powerful antimicrobial and antioxidant levels that are attributed to having polyphenols in its makeup. Rosemary also has pain-relieving and mood-elevating aspects that make this fragrant herb one to look for the next time you’re walking down the grocery aisle. Add a bit of rosemary to bread or sauces for a fun new flavor full of health.
When you think of peppermint, you might think of the gum or candies, but this impressive herb has a wide variety of powers. It has been incorporated into traditional medicine for centuries as its phenolic compounds include many flavonoids and rosmarinic acid. Peppermint can be used in foods and beverages for its antiviral and antimicrobial components as well as its antioxidant, antitumor, and antiallergenic actions. Some may choose to use this herb in their food to promote a relaxation reaction on the gastrointestinal tissue or even a pain-relieving effect on the central and peripheral nervous system. You can take advantage of this herb’s benefits by brewing it in your tea or adding it to your ice cubes to create a minty, cooling effect to mix up your daily water intake.
This herb comes in many types such as sweet basil, Thai basil, and holy basil, which is sacred in India. It’s one of the easiest to grow at home so it’s no shock that so many people love to indulge in its effects. Throughout many countries in the world, basil is utilized to lower plasma cholesterol levels as well as to lower the risk of atherosclerosis-related illnesses. Research supports that basil contains antioxidant and hypolipidemic substances that shield against carcinogen-induced cancers and may hinder the growth of molds, yeasts, and bacteria. Get thel benefits of basil by using its leaves to garnish your next pizza or avocado toast!
Oregano is used in a variety of cuisines but is mainly found in Mediterranean and Mexican dishes. It is from the dried leaves of a flowering shrub found in the Mediterranean and is now grown across the world. Oregano is abundant in phytochemicals like rosmarinic acid and thymol. When comparing other herbs like rosemary, mint, thyme, and sage, oregano comes in the first place as it has the highest total antioxidant capacity and phenolic content. Research has also shown that it may heighten brain antioxidant activity and contains antimicrobial activity against certain pathogens like Salmonella and E. Coli. This herb really proves to be a powerhouse in its category. Try switching up your meals by sprinkling some oregano over scrambled eggs or mixing it into your salad dressing.
Fresh herbs will often offer a higher antioxidant load in comparison to dried or processed herbs. Try growing your own at home.
Add fresh herbs at the end of your cooking so as to not denature their health-promoting components.
You’ll receive a wider variety of health benefits by experimenting with different herbs as you learn to use them in more recipes.