Get spicy! And I’m not talking about your basics; it’s time to look beyond your salt and pepper shakers! Boost health with herbs and spices!
There is a world of herbs and spices that is just beaming with flavor and nutritional benefit. Many herbs and spices are indigenous to different parts of the world and lend themselves to specific recipes and dishes. However, you are the chef in your kitchen and can choose to experiment with them in your next recipe!
Keep the essentials on hand:
Health Benefit: Turmeric is a concentrated source of anti-inflammatory properties (curcumin) shown to promote liver function and heart health.
Nutritional Benefit: It is rich in iron and manganese, fiber, B6, potassium and is the highest known source of beta-carotene.
The bright yellow pigment appears to inhibit the development of colon cancer.
When: It is available year round.
Where: Add it to salad dressing, mix into brown rice, add extra into curry for even more flavor, and add to lentils or Indian-themed dishes.
Health Benefit: Cumin soothes the digestive system, improves liver function, promotes the assimilation of other foods, and relieves abdominal distention, gas, and colic as well as digestive related migraines and headaches.
Nutritional Benefit: it is a good source of iron and helps stimulate the secretion of pancreatic enzymes.
Where to add it: Add to vegetables, boil the seeds for a warming tea, add to legumes for spice and flavor, add to brown rice with apricots and almonds, add to sautéed vegetables, dips, pilafs, and soups.
Health Benefit: Parsley contains a volatile oil that has been shown to inhibit tumor formation.
Contains flavonoids that function as antioxidants that prevent oxygen-based damage to cells.
Nutritional Benefit: Loaded with iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, fiber, vitamins E and C, manganese, and tryptophan.
Other Benefits: Medicinal for the stomach, treats anemia and rheumatism, promotes lactation, and helps contract the uterus.
Where to add it: Parsley is versatile and can be used to grace many different dishes like tabbouleh, chopped and sprinkled on top of soup, in pasta, or in pesto.
Health Benefit: Cinnamon blocks inflammation and bacterial growth as well as helps regulate blood sugar.
Nutritional Benefit: It is a source of calcium, manganese, dietary fiber, and iron. It helps increase digestive fluid secretion and relieve intestinal gas. It counteracts congestion and aids the peripheral circulation of the blood. Its aroma relieves tension and helps steady the nerves.
Where to add it: Sprinkle cinnamon on toast, add to warmed rice milk, add to quinoa water when cooking, add to black beans for burritos or nachos.
Health Benefit Ginger soothes the stomach and reduces nausea, as well as relaxes the intestinal tract and reduces gas.
Ginger prevents motion sickness (especially seasickness) as well as reduces the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.
It contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols – these compounds are the reason people with arthritis experience reductions in their pain levels and improvements in their mobility when they consume ginger regularly.
Nutritional Benefit: Ginger is a source of magnesium, B6, potassium, manganese, and copper.
By increasing circulation, it helps effect a systemic cleansing through the skin, bowels, and kidneys. It is anti-inflammatory and destroys many intestinal parasites.
Where to add it: Add Ginger to vegetables, make ginger lemonade, add to rice dishes with sesame seeds and strips of nori, combine with tamari, sesame oil, and garlic to make a salad dressing, and add to sautéed vegetables.
Health Benefit: Volatile oils have been shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria.
The numerous phytonutrients found in oregano have been shown to function as potent antioxidants that can prevent oxygen-based damage to the cell structures.
On a per gram fresh weight basis, oregano has demonstrated 42 times more antioxidant capacity than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges, and 4 times more than blueberries.
Nutritional Benefit: It is a source of fiber, iron, manganese, calcium, vitamins C and A, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Where to add it: Garnish pizza with fresh oregano, add to sautéed mushrooms and onions, add a few fresh sprigs to a container of olive oil to infuse the oil with it, or add to omelets.