Delicious & Nutritious: The Healthy Benefits of Fresh Herbs and Spices
When it comes to cooking, most of us love to add a little flavour to our dishes, whether it’s a hint of garlic, a kick of chilli or the sweetness of basil. Though we all know that adding these flavours to our dishes exponentially increases the flavour value of the dish, many people are unaware of the nutritional value added by fresh herbs and spices! In today’s article, I’d like to take you through the many herbs and spices which have some powerful health benefits.
The natural oil found in peppermint leaves has been used throughout history for its medical benefits. One of the key health benefits that peppermint brings is its effect on the gut, as it can help to sooth and relieve symptoms of IBS. It helps to relax the muscles in the colon which in turn relives pain and can prevent bloating. Furthermore, as peppermint has a soothing effect on the stomach, it can also help to alleviate nausea. One of the best ways to include peppermint into your daily routine is through tea, take fresh peppermint leaves and place them in a tea pot with some boiling water.
Turmeric has a naturally-beautiful yellowy colour, and is used in cuisines across the world, most notably in South Asia. When it comes to its nutritional benefits, it is equally impressive. Turmeric contains curcumin (more about curcumin article), which is an outstandingly potent antioxidant proven to fight oxidative damage to the body, whilst bolstering antioxidant enzymes. Curcumin is also an anti-inflammatory, meaning that it can help in preventing a great deal of diseases.
Cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde, an antioxidant which gives cinnamon its anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, cinnamon can help to lower blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity and slowing down how our bodies breakdown carbs. One study demonstrated that cinnamon lowered fasting blood sugar levels by 10-29% in diabetic patients.
Garlic is one of the most popular flavours across the globe, being used in various cuisines and delicacies. Beyond its naturally powerful flavour, garlic has a long list of health benefits which it can bring too. Garlic contains allicin, a compound which has been proven to have a wholly positive impact on heart and blood health; reducing LDL cholesterol and blood pressure. In many cases, garlic supplementation has proved useful in alleviating these issues. Garlic has also been proven to combat the common cold, especially for those more susceptible to frequent colds.
These are only a few of the various herbs and spices which you need to include in your diet; I would also recommend rosemary, basil, sage and thyme. Though dried herbs and spices can still bring some benefits, I would always recommend using fresh herbs and spices where possible, as this will maximise the nutritional benefits and flavour of your dishes! If you are interested in consulting a nutritional therapist or simply in nutritional therapy in general, then book yourself in for a free 30 minute discovery call today. We can have a chat about your requirements, goals and preferences, and then discuss the best way to move forward.