Herbs & Spices, More than Flavor Enhancers

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The right combination of fresh, or even dried, herbs & spices can transform a dish from the mundane to the sublime. The right mixture can also give food a unique flavor profile, or a distinct ethnic flare.

Herbs & spices have been used for medicinal purposes by many different cultures, throughout history, and modern science is continually proving that these practices were not unfounded.
They have been proven to posses many qualities that can help improve our health. They can be anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-fungal. They can help lower blood pressure, promote liver health, ease nausea and much more. Herbs & spices can be helpful in managing and reducing the risks for chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

Let’s talk about a few of the more commonly found herbs & spices and their healthy properties.

  • Cinnamon helps lower blood sugar levels, and LDL (bad cholesterol). It also increases insulin sensitivity, which helps burn fat and calories.
  • Ginger is known for its digestive properties. It helps reduce nausea and it’s anti-inflammatory as well.
  • Turmeric has strong anti inflammatory properties, and has been linked to the detoxification and protection of the liver.
  • Oregano, 1 tsp of oregano has as many antioxidants as 3 whole cups of broccoli. It’s also good for digestion, and respiratory health.
  • Rosemary is another anti-inflammatory herb. Reducing inflammation in the body is vital to heart health, and brain function. Inflammation has also been shown to be a precursor to diabetes.
  • Thyme is known to stimulate the immune system.
  • Cayenne is linked to increased metabolism, which is great for weight control. Cayenne is also associated with the easing of cold and flu symptoms.
  • Sage, when brewed as a tea, is often used to sooth a sore throat, and to help reduce excessive sweating.

While dried herbs and spices do posses these healthy properties, fresh varieties are even more potent. They taste better, too. You can grow many fresh herbs in your garden. If you’re short on outdoor space, you can grow them in small pots on your patio. A sunny window sill can also make a wonderful little herb garden, indoors!

 

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