Herbs are tiny powerhouses of nutritional benefits. But it isn’t just exotic herbs with unpronounceable names that have an astonishing effect on your health. Some of the healthiest herbs could be sitting in your kitchen right now. When you sprinkle oregano liberally over pizza, you’re usually doing it only because you love how oregano tastes. Oregano’s incredible nutritional properties are probably the last thing on your mind. But oregano, like many other common herbs, can benefit your health in many ways. Here are eight common herbs and their wide range of health properties.
No Mexican or Indian dish is complete without a handful of cilantro tossed over it. While this herb is a cornerstone of many cuisines because of its distinctive taste, not many people are aware of its health properties. Pollution can cause many dangerous heavy metals to enter our body, where they can damage our health. Eating cilantro helps remove these metals and detoxify our body. Cilantro can also regulate your blood sugar and help you manage your cholesterol. You can simply add cilantro as a garnish to whatever you’re cooking or get really creative and use it to make pesto.
A dash of oregano could be all you need to stay healthy and active. This herb contains volatile oils which can protect you from a whole slew of diseases. Oregano is particularly effective at protecting you from food-borne viruses, so you don’t have too feel too guilty about burying your food with oregano. Oregano can also protect you from the flu, the common cold and many respiratory illnesses. You can sprinkle oregano into stews, soups and over vegetables or you can use oregano oil for a more concentrated version.
Rosemary does a lot more than just make your potatoes taste heavenly. The leaves of rosemary have been found to contain potent antioxidants that can actually prevent the formation of cancer cells. They also have several anti-inflammatory compounds which bring inflammatory hormones under control. If you have an inflammatory disorder like arthritis, consuming rosemary leaves often can help reduce your symptoms. You can add a few sprigs of rosemary to your olive oil to infuse it with the flavor or simply add it to your meat and vegetable dishes.
If you’re feeling anxious and jittery, basil leaves can help calm you down. This herb has been found to have a calming effect on your nerves and help you reach a state of peacefulness again. Basil can also help maintain your cardiac health. It has powerful antioxidants which prevent oxidative damage to your blood vessels and keeps them functioning normally. If you’re down with a bad cold, drinking water infused with basil leaves can help you recover. Basil leaves are very effective at curing respiratory infections and inflammatory diseases. You can add basil to pesto or roast vegetables to reap its many benefits.
Dill is one of our most favorite herbs to add into a salad, but its amazing taste is only one of the reasons why you should eat more of it. Dill contains beta-carotenes which are a precursor to vitamin A. Beta-carotenes help keep your skin, eyes and immune system healthy. Apart from beta-carotenes, dill is also an important source of iron, magnesium and calcium. All three of these minerals work together to maintain your bone density. This is especially important for women who have reached menopause because their bones start to become more brittle.
Parsley is one of the most commonly used herbs in America, but it’s also one of the healthiest. Just one teaspoon of parsley has half of your recommended daily intake of vitamin K. Vitamin K is essential for proper clotting of blood and especially for maintaining strong bones. Parsley can also boost your liver’s detoxifying powers, helping it eliminate toxins from your body better. It’s also a very good source of iron and folate. Parsley is a very versatile herb and can be used in everything from grilled meat to tomato sauce.
If you’re constantly battling with poor digestion, mint leaves could be your ultimate savior. Mint contains compounds which soothe your digestive tract. It is especially effective if you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome or from a gastrointestinal issue. Sipping on mint tea is also perfect when you have a cold because mint can help fight respiratory infections, colds and the flu. You can add mint leaves to your regular recipes, infuse your water with it or simply brew yourself a soothing mug of mint tea to enjoy its benefits.
Sage leaves were traditionally used to ward off evil spirits, but there are many more benefits of sage that are backed by science. Sage is particularly important for women because it can reduce the intensity of period cramps. If you’re going through menopause, then sage can lessen the frequency of hot flashes and can slow down skin aging. Research is also beginning to show that sage is very effective at slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s and improve symptoms of depression.