Herbs, why they are Beneficial to our Diet

herbsAdding herbs to meals can add great flavors that we crave, but is there another purpose? For those who are unfamiliar as to what is qualified to be an herb, the definition is: any plant with leaves, seeds, or flowers used for flavoring, food, medicine, or perfume. Some herbs are cilantro, basil, chamomile, chives, etc. So why should we eat them? In the past, herbs were commonly used to aid with digestion and to help arthritis. According to WebMD, “Common herbs and spices may help protect against certain chronic conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease,”.

Herbs can help reduce inflammation, the cause of several chronic diseases.  Some herbs may also contain antioxidants which fight to protect against free radicals damaging body tissue. Flavoring your food with herbs as opposed to sugary sauces and seasonings with MSG, monosodium glutamate, is a healthier alternative.  Tastier, flavorful foods are more satisfying than bland tasting foods. When we are satisfied with the foods we eat, we are less likely going to eat more than what we need because our cravings will have subsided. This can reduce our calorie intake 10%-16%.  Herbs also contain minerals and multivitamins.  According to Mercola.com, herbs create a more thermogenic diet, meaning that it will help to boost our metabolisms.  They also suggest this list of spices and herbs that we should incorporate into our diet:

  • “rosemary and basil for their anti-inflammatory power
  • cumin and sage for their dementia-fighting power
  • cayenne and cinnamon for their obesity-fighting power
  • coriander and cinnamon for their sugar regulating powers
  • lemon grass, nutmeg, bay leaves and saffron for their calming effects on your mood
  • turmeric for its cancer fighting power
  • oregano for its fungus-beating power
  • garlic, mustard seed and chicory for their heart-pumping power
  • basil and thyme for their skin-saving power
  • turmeric, basil, cinnamon, thyme, saffron, and ginger for their immune-boosting power
  • coriander, rosemary, cayenne, allspice and black pepper for their depression-busting power”
  • Thyme is great for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties

If you need help finding ways to incorporate herbs into your diet, an About.com Australian/ New Zealand food article listed several creative ways:

“Ways to enjoy herbs & spices in your food

  • Combine finely chopped garlic and basil to extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice for a delicious and nutritious salad dressing
  • Add fresh herbs such as cilantro, chives, basil or mint to salads or sandwiches
  • Sprinkle spices such as cumin or fennel seeds in soups or salads
  • Marinate lean meats in curry powder or curry pastes
  • Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg over oatmeal or wholegrain toast for breakfast
  • Add extra flavor to scrambled eggs with a handful of fresh parsley or chives
  • Stew fruits with cinnamon and a vanilla pod
  • Substitute tea by steeping lemongrass or mint in hot water
  • Add freshly grated garlic to mayonnaise for an easy aioli
  • Add fresh or dried herbs to your favorite pasta dish”

 If you have any questions, feel free to speak to a live health coach today at 800.980.7208 or visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aminodiet.

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Authored by Health Coach; Megan

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