I love to add herbs and spices to my dishes when cooking. I think they add such a great “kick” to whatever it is that I’m fixing up for dinner. I like to experiment with various types and see what new flavors I can conjure up and make a meal we’ve had over and over again taste a little new and different.
As it turns out, herbs and spices are good for more than just adding additional flavors to our food. There are quite a few health benefits that come along with them, too. Can’t beat that, can you?
I’ve listed a few of my favorite herbs below and included their health benefits. I’d love to hear some of your favorites — add them in the comments and we’ll share with everyone.
Basil – I do believe this is my all time favorite herb! The smell, the flavor… it’s always a winner at my house. I put it in any Italian dish I’m cooking, sprinkle on roasted veggies, and add to beef and chicken marinades. It’s healthy benefits include being an anti-inflammatory, helps to prevent osteoarthritis, is used for digestive disorders and is currently being studied for its anti-cancer properties.
Garlic – I usually use Garlic in Italian dishes, but I’ve also been known to throw a little in meat marinades and love to throw it in my meat for tacos. Studies that have been done show that just 2 cloves a week can provide anti-cancer benefits. And, while fresh is always best when it comes to garlic, if you are careful to not overcook it, you can still receive some of those great healthy benefits.
Rosemary – I primarily use rosemary on roasted veggies, particularly on roasted red potatoes. Rosemary is also a great addition to soups and meat dishes (particularly on lamb). It contains antioxidants and has been shown in studies to have benefits in cancer treatments and for promoting healthy digestion.
Ginger – this is one that I enjoy using, but don’t use often enough. It has a sweet, but spicy flavor that lends itself well to Thai and Indonesian foods. My family has several favorite Thai dishes and I always make sure to include a bit of ginger. The health benefits of this great little root herb include uses as an anti-inflammatory, as a painkiller, and to decrease nausea. My husband has a ginger gum he chews when experiencing nausea that works great! (also good for car sickness).
Cilantro – this is another herb that gets a lot of use in my kitchen. If I’m cooking up anything with Mexican flavors, you can be sure I’ve added cilantro to the dish. This herb contains quite a bit of antioxidants, essential oils, vitamins and dietary fibers that help reduce “bad cholesterol” (LDL) and increases the “good cholesterol” (HDL). It also is a good source for potassium, calcium, iron, and magnesium.
Don’t forget to add your favorite herbs and spices in the comments!