Herbs often get overlooked when it comes to embracing a healthier lifestyle. After all, they’re just something you add to your meal for a bit of flavor, right? Wrong! Herbs can add a ton of nutrients and are a great source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants – adding them to your meals, snacks, and even smoothies can go a long way towards helping you reach your health goals. Let’s talk about a few of the most common, widely available types of herbs.
Herb #1: Basil
Mmmm…basil! Perfect for Italian cooking (and more), basil is easily grown on a windowsill in your kitchen. It also is a terrific anti-inflammatory and anti-viral – perfect for cold and flu season! Branch out with basil by adding to soups and salads, not just marinara. Try one of our Founder Marco’s most popular recipes, Avocado Basil Cream with Zucchini Noodles.
Herb #2: Oregano
You can’t talk about basil without bringing its buddy oregano on for the ride, so here goes. This little herb is an excellent antioxidant and is thus credited with cancer-fighting properties. It’s also been shown to fight off certain bacteria, like Listeria, which is commonly associated with food-borne illnesses. So, add some oregano and stay safe!
Herb #3: Parsley
Often thought of as a mere garnish, parsley offers the opportunity to get some much-needed nutrients. Used to help treat the symptoms of diabetes in Eastern medicine, parsley may help manage blood sugar levels. Meanwhile, your body can benefit from an increase in vitamins A, K, C, and E, as well as B vitamins, calcium, and magnesium. An excellent way to enjoy the benefits of parsley is in a recipe like Lentil Taboulleh, featured above, and found in The 22-Day Revolution Cookbook.
Herb #4: Rosemary
Reminiscent of Thanksgiving dinners with the family, rosemary is a lovely spice for hearty dishes, such as stews and casseroles. By adding rosemary, you’ll get iron, fiber, calcium and a whole lot of antioxidants. A delicious recipe to try is Baked Rosemary Potatoes with Cannellini Bean Salad.
Herb #5: Cilantro
Perfect for salsa and all types of sauces. High in vitamin A, calcium, and iron, it’s a great way to get some much-needed nutrients, as well as antioxidants that can help to cleanse the body of harmful metals.
Selecting and Using Herbs
Fresh, organic herbs are your best bet – and you can grow them at home. Buying fresh herbs is a great option as well. You can also harvest (or buy) batches of herbs and freeze them for later use. Dried herbs are a viable option, but will lose some of their nutrients in the process.
While you can certainly throw herbs into pretty much any meal, from salads to baked goods, don’t overlook a major source of herb-enjoyment: smoothies and juices. You can add large amounts of herbs to smoothies or juices for flavor and nutrients. Try these combos: raspberry-rosemary, pineapple-cilantro, blackberry-basil, and so on. Enjoy!