The Unknown Nutritional Benefits of Herbs and Spices
Most of us have herbs or spices in our kitchen, somewhere, and they may have been there for quite a while. In some cases we bought them for one recipe and then forgot them.
All herbs and spices have excellent health and nutritional benefits for our body. They are all classified as potential anti-viral and anti-bacterial. Many of these plants are high in vitamins and minerals.
These plants also contain many disease fighting anti-oxidants. In many cases anti-oxidants are higher in value than your fruit and veggies. Our problem, in America, is that these potent plants are rarely used. Except for salt and pepper, which are the least potent of all the herbs and spices.
Let’s talk about a few herbs and what their special areas of expertise:
1. Immune Builders: Echinacea, Astragulus, Elderberry
2. Anti-Bacterial and anti -Viral: Cinnamon. Oregano or Thyme, Garlic
3. Anti- inflammatory: Turmeric, Cumin, Ginger
4. Cleansing or Detoxing: Dandelion, Milk thistle, Burdock, Green herbs like Basil and Parsley.
5. Calming and Stress relaxant: Chamomile, St johns, Valerian, Lemon balm
So overall, you can help your body in all these situations by consistently eating herbs and spices to keep you healthy.
Useful Herbal Recipes and Suggestions
Here are some suggestions on how to increase your use and receive these nutritional benefits from herbs and spices.
Many can be used as teas; like Echinacea, cinnamon, ginger, dandelion, chamomile, or lemon balm. Just use 1 tsp. per cup of boiling water. Steep 5-10 minutes, strain, and sip.
There are a few which may not be as tasty. Some may be downright awful, and so I recommend use in a capsule or as a liquid extract. These include Astragulus, oregano, turmeric, milk thistle, St Johns and especially valerian, the stinkiest herb, but very effective.
You can add others to your cooking, in meals or salads or smoothies. These include herbs and spices of elderberry, cinnamon, thyme, ginger, cumin, turmeric or oregano.
Nutritional benefits of most herbs are vitamin A, C, B, D and E. Many have minerals of iron, manganese, magnesium, potassium, copper, calcium and selenium.
Easy Cooking Recipes
Herbs used in Mediterranean diets are very healthy. Favorite herbs oregano, basil and parsley can be used in Italian and Greek dishes. Try them yourself, even if you have to “doctor up” a bottle of pasta sauce or fix up a pizza for added flavor.
Try a risotto, rice or quinoa dish topped with veggies and green herbs. Or throw in some turmeric, ginger and garlic with some steamed noodles. You can add sautéed kale and mushrooms. Use olive oil, avocado or sesame oil for taste.
If you bake, add spices to your cookies or tea breads.
Some favorites in baking are cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves or lavender. You can also sprinkle your pudding or yogurt with same above herbs. Or add crunch with seeds like chia, hemp, flax or sesame.
Do some cleansing or detoxing drinks by adding herbs to your smoothies. Try 1/2 tsp. of dandelion, milk thistle, burdock or even mint for flavor. Mix this with some frozen fruit, honey or whey protein, it will still taste good but your body will benefit. Try this about once a week.
Be adventurous and try some different blends, change it around weekly. Find your favorites. Then use those more frequently.