Herbs can add more than just body to a meal. Herbs are often packed with antioxidants, a molecule known to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. They also have many other health benefits such as anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, they can be useful for people with arthritis, and some can speed up the metabolism thus aiding weight loss. As well as benefiting your well-being, herbs provide an economical way of adding extra nutrients to a meal, and they have a long shelve life when purchased dried.
Detailed below are some of the "super herbs" that are known for their many health giving properties.
Garlic is known for its antibiotic properties and is often used to help treat and shorten the life of a cold. As well as acting as an antibiotic, garlic is also thought to have anti-viral properties and anti-fungal properties. Garlic has also been shown to lower the cholesterol levels.
Just a few cloves of garlic a week is all that are needed to benefit from the herbs powerful properties, Although not everyone enjoys the taste, garlic can be used in soups, dressings, stir fries, risottos, roasts, sauces and casseroles.
Oregano is a herb packed full of antioxidants. Extensive research has shown the many benefits antioxidants can have on health, and adding oregano is an easy way to enhance your diet. Oregano is great added to salads, stirred into tomato sauces, added to pizzas, baked or stir fried vegetables, and to add flavour to Italian meals.
This Mediterranean herb has been shown to be beneficial in reducing inflammation. It is also thought to improve memory and boost cognitive function. When used in cooking, rosemary can be added to sauces, marinades, or used to flavour meats. It is also often used in Italian recipes and can be used either in dried or fresh form.
Ginger Is a warming herb and it is known for boosting circulation. Ginger is often used as a remedy to treat nausea, digestive problems and upset stomachs. It is also believed to reduce pain and to help migraine sufferers. Ginger can be added to soups, biscuits, cakes, and meals that require a stronger spice to add some body to a recipe.
This herb is known for its pain killing benefits. It can also reduce blood sugar, speed up metabolism, and boost circulation. Moreover, cayenne is considered useful for treating colds, and its high levels of vitamin A means it could be good for the health of the retina, the immune system and the skin. Add cayenne pepper to your diet by including it to Italian and Mexican foods, in chilli and meats. Read more about Cayenne Pepper here.
Several studies have shown that cinnamon can help diabetics by helping them to better manage blood sugar levels. Cinnamon is known to have a lowering effect of glucose levels, and may reduce the need for insulin. In addition, cinnamon is believed to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It is ideal when used to give some flavour to oatmeal or porridge oats.
Studies have shown that this yellow, spicy herb not only gives meals added warmth, but there is also evidence to suggest that the curcumin contained within turmeric can help stop the growth of tumour cells.
The herb is also thought to reduce inflammation in the joints, improve digestion, lower triglyceride levels, aid diabetics; turmeric is most commonly added to Indian recipes. However, it is not recommended that pregnant women eat turmeric; patients on anticoagulant medications or with gall bladder problems should also take advice before supplementing their diet with this herb.
Turmeric can be added to curries, tagines, stews and meat recipes.
Sage is thought to be useful for reducing menopausal symptoms, reducing hot flushes, night sweats, mood swings and lowering oestrogen levels. It is also thought to reduce anxiety and fatigue as well as aid an irregular heartbeat.
Sage is full of minerals including magnesium, vitamin C and E, manganese and Folic Acid. Sage can be added to the diet by drinking it as a tea, stirring into casseroles or adding it to roasts.
Drinking sage as a tea will help ease a sore throat.
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Updated: April 24, 2018 CET