We all know that we should be eating a variety of fruits and vegetables daily but often we forget that herbs also contain powerful nutrients that can boost our health and vitality.
Herbs are extremely nutrient dense. Not only do they contain powerful vitamins, minerals and antioxidants but they are also highly therapeutic.
Here are 10 of the healthiest culinary herbs and their benefits:
Often used as a garnish, many people overlook the healing and medicinal properties of parsley. This curly green herb is a rich source of antioxidants, iron, Vitamin C and Vitamin K. It has been shown to help relieve congestions and inflammation in the kidney and bladder and also has a diuretic effect. Studies have also shown that parsley can be effective for relieving constipation, stomach upsets and bad breath.
Use copious amounts of parsley as a garnish in your cooking or add it to salads and marinades. It can also be tossed into green smoothies and shakes.
One of the most medicinal and potent of herbs, Oregano offers a wide range of health benefits. Studies have shown that oregano is anti-bacterial, anti-parasitic and anti-fungal. It is also excellent at relieving congestion caused by colds and coughs and can be used to ease menstrual cramps. It is rich in fiber, iron, manganese, Vitamin E, iron, calcium and Omega-3 fatty acids. Oregano also contains a rich source of antioxidants which helps to fight free radicals, ageing and carcinogens.
Perfect in most Italian dishes, Oregano goes well on pizza, pasta and in salad dressings. It also pairs well with chicken, eggs and cheese. It can also be consumed as a tea.
3.) Coriander/ Cilantro
Coriander or Cilantro has powerful detox properties and can help to draw heavy metals such as mercury and lead out of the body. Studies have also shown that cilantro can help reduce memory loss, insulin resistance and cholesterol. Cilantro is also effective for reliving headaches.
Cilantro pairs well in most Mexican and Asian dishes. Use in curries, salsas, sauces and dips. Just make sure to add the cilantro at the end of cooking to preserve its healing qualities.
Another nutritional powerhouse, thyme has been shown to help clear mucus, open the airways and relieve sinus infections. It has anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic qualities and can also help treat gum disease. Studies have also shown that thyme can help relieve shortness of breath and reduce the severity of bronchitis. Thyme can also help relieve indigestion, especially after a rich or heavy meal.
Thyme goes well in sauces, marinades, stuffings and stews. It can also be used on meats, salad dressings and as a tea.
Tarragon has long been used as a remedy for toothaches and swollen gums. It also has powerful digestive effects and has been shown to treat indigestion and gas. Tarragon is powerful anti-bacterial herb and can help fight off infections and boost immunity. It is also an appetite stimulant and can be effective for insomnia.
Tarragon is commonly used in French cuisine. It pairs well with chicken, egg and fish.
Dill is a natural diuretic and can help relieve bladder infections. It also has anti-bacterial properties and can help calm an upset stomach. Some studies have also shown that dill is effective in reducing blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Dill pairs well with most seafood dishes and can be used in salads or with potatoes. Can also be consumed as a tea.
A powerful anti-inflammatory herb, rosemary is great for reducing pain and swelling. It is also antiseptic and has been shown to help lower the risk of asthma, liver disease, gum disease and heart disease. It is rich in calcium, iron, potassium, folate, Vitamin B6, C and A. Rosemary oil has also been shown to help ease an upset stomach and reduce macular degeneration.
Basil has been considered a sacred herb in many cultures around the world. In India it was the herb of hospitality and in Italy, it was a symbol of love. Basil has strong antioxidant properties and is a powerful anti-inflammatory. It has been shown to relieve digestive issues and can reduce pain and swelling in joints. Basil is rich in vitamin K, manganese and Vitamin A. It has also been shown to protect cells from radiative stress and can reduce the severity of infections. Basil is a mild diuretic and can help promote circulation.
Basil pairs well in Italian dishes, with tomatoes, in soups and with pasta.
Mint has long been used for healing digestive complaints. Studies have shown that mint can help relieve irritable bowel syndrome, gas, upset stomach and indigestion. Mint has also been shown to strengthen the nervous system and can help provide relief to nasal and chest congestion. Some studies have also shown that mint can also help reduce pimples, acne and dry skin.
Mint pairs well with curries, salads, potatoes and peas. It can also be consumed as a tea or added to water for a refreshing drink.
Sage contains a rich source of Vitamin K and has also been shown to help boost memory. Studies have also found that compounds in sage can help reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. Sage also contains phytoestrogens that can help reduce menstrual cramps and symptoms of menopause.
Sage pairs well with pumpkin, squash, butter, chicken and pasta.
Even adding a small amount of these herbs to your meals every day can make a huge impact on your health and wellbeing.