Herbs are great for enhancing and boosting the flavors of your dishes. Best of all – they don’t add additional calories or sodium to your diet. But their powers go well beyond flavor enhancement. Many herbs also pack a mighty medicinal punch, helping to give your health a little boost with their many health benefits. Although herbs are natural, when used as a supplement, you must always consult your healthcare provider, as some herbs are linked to side effects and medical interactions. Here’s a list of some of the best herbs that can assist you in achieving Better Health.
Probably one of the most popular culinary herbs, basil is packed full of vitamins and minerals. It’s popular in Italian cuisine but actually originated in Asia and Africa. There are many different varieties of basil, including sweet basil and Thai basil. Basil is a very aromatic herb, thanks to its plant compounds. The very same plant compounds responsible for its health benefits, including helping to control blood pressure, easing stress, and relieving anxiety.
Another popular herb used in Italian and Mediterranean cuisines, oregano, is part of the mint family and also packs an antioxidant punch. The leaves are rich in the antioxidant carvacrol, a compound proven effective at fighting off viruses, including the contagious norovirus. Studies have also shown oregano’s carvacrol content to be a natural antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory, in addition to having cancer-fighting properties.
Often considered a spice, ginger is an herbaceous perennial plant that comes in a dried powdered form and as a fresh root. Ginger is a bit of an acquired taste and can definitely have a fiery kick sometimes. Probably most well-known for its ability to calm nausea, ginger has also been found to ease arthritis pain, soothe sore muscles, lower blood pressure, and reduce high cholesterol.
One of the most versatile herbs with health benefits is definitely garlic. You can add garlic to almost anything and everything. Providing that you like the flavor, of course. Unfortunately, there’s not enough time to talk about all the good about garlic. It truly is nature’s medicine. It contains phytochemicals (or plant compounds) responsible for the plant’s heart-healthy, immune-supportive, anti-inflammatory, and nutritional properties. You can also use it as an antiseptic, antibacterial, and antifungal agent. That means it is great for fighting those pesky colds. To activate garlic’s health-promoting compounds, chop or crush it five to 10 minutes before cooking or adding to other ingredients.