The Top 10 Healthiest Herbs You Should Be Eating
Most people don’t realize that herbs are more than just flavors to make your food taste better – they are actually very powerful food sources with their own unique health benefits. Here are 10 of the healthiest herbs you should be eating right now!
Introduction: What are the healthiest herbs?
While most of us think of herbs as spices, in reality, herbs are edible plants or parts of plants. They’re typically used for their flavor and aroma.
Certain herbs can be used to treat common ailments like headaches, nausea, and insomnia. All parts of an herb can be used leaves, flowers, roots, seeds, and stems. Here’s a list of some healthiest herbs you should be eating:
Turmeric The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin which gives it its yellow coloring. Turmeric has antiseptic properties that make it useful in treating minor wounds and cuts including burns.
It is also believed to help reduce inflammation and ease joint pain thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies have shown that turmeric may prevent and even fight cancer.
Rosemary contains antioxidants such as rosmarinic acid, caffeic acid, ursolic acid, carnosol, carnosic acid, and rosmaridiphenol. These antioxidants protect your body from free radicals which can damage cells and lead to disease.
Thyme contains thymol which helps fight off bacteria in your mouth when you eat it with raw vegetables or use it to season meats before cooking them.
In addition to fighting bacteria, thyme is known for its ability to relieve indigestion and gas pains caused by consuming too many dairy products such as cheese.
Parsley has many uses, but one of its best benefits is that it acts as a diuretic. This means that parsley will help rid your body of excess water weight because it makes you urinate more frequently.
This can benefit people who suffer from water retention due to fluid buildup. Parsley is also great at relieving bad breath and gingivitis because it cleanses your mouth of bacteria and plaque.
Oregano contains high levels of antioxidants called carvacrol, thymol, limonene, alpha-pinene, beta-pinene, and linalool which all act together to strengthen your immune system so you stay healthy during cold and flu season.
Mint is another excellent source of antioxidants and vitamins A, C, E, and K. Mint also contain minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, and iron.
Peppermint oil is commonly used to alleviate digestive problems like heartburn, bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, and nausea.
Chamomile tea is well known for helping you relax after a long day or getting over jet lag. Studies show that chamomile tea has antioxidant properties that might help lower cholesterol levels while reducing symptoms associated with diabetes.
Ginger root is commonly used in Asian dishes because it adds flavor without adding calories. Ginger works wonders on stomach aches due to motion sickness, morning sickness, food poisoning, or overeating.
Parsley is a healthy herb, rich in antioxidants and nutrients. It helps with digestion, lowers blood pressure, and reduces high cholesterol levels.
It also contains anti-cancer properties that help to fight cancerous cells when consumed regularly. Research has shown that it could be beneficial for people suffering from ulcers or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). What’s more, it tastes great!
Add it to soups or salads to add flavor without adding any fat or calories. Its smooth texture also makes it a perfect garnish for your favorite meals.
If you don’t like its taste, consider eating it raw. Cooking can reduce its nutritional value by up to 90%.
In recent years there have been many studies showing that parsley may prevent breast cancer.
Studies done on mice have found that if they were given an extract of parsley before being exposed to carcinogens they were less likely to develop tumors than those who did not receive parsley extract.
There are several reasons why parsley may help protect against breast cancer including its ability to act as an antioxidant that fights free radicals which cause cell damage leading to tumors.
Another reason is apigenin which is found in parsley and has been found effective at preventing DNA damage caused by carcinogens and acts as an anti-inflammatory agent helping prevent tumor growth and spread of existing tumors.
Parsley also contains a flavonoid called luteolin which helps prevent new blood vessels from forming allowing tumors to grow, and phytochemicals such as coumarins, terpenes, tannins, alkaloids, carotenoids, chlorophylls, and polyphenols all of which have anti-cancer properties.
Parsley also contains vitamins A, C, and K; magnesium; calcium; iron; phosphorus; potassium; zinc; copper, and manganese-all of which are essential for healthy cells.
High levels of vitamin C can help boost your immune system while vitamin A promotes healthy skin. Potassium helps regulate blood pressure while calcium strengthens bones.
Aromatic oregano is commonly used in Italian, Mexican, and Greek dishes. While it offers plenty of benefits on its own, oregano oil also contains carvacrol which may have antioxidant properties that can help protect against certain forms of cancer, including stomach and colon cancers.
In fact, it’s thought that those who consume high amounts of carvacrol could reduce their risk of these types of cancers by as much as 70% (16). (Read also Is Lettuce Good for you).
Oregano oil is also loaded with antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. It’s best to use fresh oregano or dried oregano leaves when cooking; be sure to store them in a cool place after you bring them home from your local farmers’ market or grocery store.
Basil is loaded with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agents. As an antibacterial, basil will help to fight off illness and inflammation as well.
Basil contains trace amounts of iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus. However, it is rich in vitamins A and C which are both important for preventing illness from occurring in your body.
Remember to use fresh basil in cooking rather than dried because dried basil does not contain as many nutrients as fresh does.
If you find yourself getting sick often you should try incorporating basil into your diet to get rid of your cold symptoms quickly.
Fresh lemon juice mixed with crushed or chopped fresh basil leaves makes a great addition to any meal or snack time since it’s packed full of vitamin C!
If you’re not a fan of eating fresh basil, you can also use it in your cooking. Add one cup of fresh basil to about four cups of water and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Let it sit for another 15 minutes and strain out any excess liquid before using it in any recipe. You can also freeze leftover leaves to use at a later time!
The health benefits of cilantro range from providing antioxidant properties to fighting tumors. Cilantro is rich in calcium, vitamins A and K, and manganese.
It also contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which are important antioxidants for eyesight. In addition to these nutrients, cilantro can help lower cholesterol levels, prevents heart disease and cancer, helps prevent dementia by slowing cognitive decline (specifically Alzheimer’s disease), reduces inflammation in certain tissues, and function as an antifungal agent.
Furthermore, it also acts as a brain booster to improve memory function. The taste of cilantro ranges from sweet to spicy or peppery; commonly it has citrus undertones with a hint of pepper or ginger.
Some people may find its flavor overpowering and unpleasant, so it is best to use small amounts until you get used to its taste.
This herb goes well with Asian cuisine, including Thai dishes such as curries and soups. It also works well in Mexican dishes such as guacamole or salsa verde. Try adding fresh cilantro leaves on top of your next taco salad or stir-fry dish!
As one of nature’s most versatile herbs, thyme is good for everything from coughs to colds to digestive health. It has been used for centuries in Europe as a way to treat respiratory ailments and heartburn.
In studies, researchers have found that thyme may even be effective against MRSA that nasty antibiotic-resistant staph infection that often plagues hospitals.
And it may just become your new favorite cooking herb: A recent study found that adding three or four sprigs of thyme to the chicken broth before boiling was as effective at removing harmful contaminants like dioxins and PCBs as water purification systems costing thousands of dollars. It’s also high in antioxidants and contains no fat or cholesterol.
Often used in various Italian dishes, sage is a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and Vitamins A and C. It is especially effective at reducing inflammation of all kinds, including rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
This also makes it great for heart health by reducing plaque buildup in arteries as well as preventing blood clots. Sage can be eaten fresh or dried.
The leaves can be added to smoothies and juices to help regulate blood sugar levels. The spice is also great when sprinkled over chicken and fish before cooking them.
This herb has been known to strengthen bones by stimulating osteoblasts (cells responsible for bone regeneration).
When incorporating fresh sage into your meals make sure you remove large stems first as they tend to add an unpleasant texture to foods.
Also, only use fresh sage within three days of purchase because it will begin to lose its flavor after that time period.
It is one of nature’s most flavorful, healthy, and medicinal herbs. Whether it’s used as a fragrance, in your favorite tea, or to add some pizzazz to your favorite recipes; mint has a lot going for it.
The herb contains anti-microbial properties and studies show that consuming mint actually helps lower cholesterol! One study by researchers at Kansas State University concluded that participants who chewed mint leaves regularly reported lower levels of bad cholesterol than those who did not.
Make sure you add more of it to your daily diet because it will bring you numerous health benefits. It aids in digestion, and prevents bloating and food poisoning.
Fennel is good for digestion, and can even relieve symptoms of indigestion, heartburn, bloating, and gas. It’s full of phytonutrients that can help reduce inflammation in your body and also helps with blood sugar control.
The antioxidant properties of rosemary are very similar to those of dark chocolate but with an added bonus: Rosemary also helps boost memory and brain function, making it a great plant to consume if you’re hoping to keep your mind sharp as you age.
Studies have shown that rosemary has high concentrations of carnosic acid and rosmarinic acid (two antioxidants), both of which show great promise in fighting disease and boosting memory.
What’s more, research shows that when combined with other spices such as thyme, sage, marjoram, and oregano, rosemary can be even more effective than its individual components.
Turmeric, a root that is native to Asia, gives curry its distinct yellow color. Turmeric has been used for hundreds of years as a folk remedy for skin and gastrointestinal problems.
It’s also gaining popularity as an alternative treatment for inflammatory conditions like psoriasis and rheumatoid arthritis. In fact, several studies have suggested that turmeric can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation associated with some medical conditions.
However, there isn’t enough evidence to recommend using it as a traditional or supplemental treatment just yet.
More research is needed to determine whether these results apply to humans as well as animal models, how turmeric may work in people with specific health issues, and whether any side effects are associated with its use.
How To Brew an Herbal Tea
You can buy your favorite herbal tea in a box and if you want to know how to brew it, just follow these instructions. Put one teaspoon of leaves or 2 teaspoons of powdered herbs into a cup.
Pour in boiling water and allow it to steep for 3 minutes. Add milk or sugar if desired, stir and enjoy! Now you can try making your own herb tea as well.
Not only is it cost-effective but many times better tasting as well. The following are herbs that are good for different purposes.
What are some of the best herbs for tea?
Garlic, Thyme, Oregano, Cardamom. Basil, Lavender, Peppermint. Dandelion. Echinacea. Nettle. Sage and Mint are two of my personal favorites to work with in a cup of tea because I find them to be very calming herbs that help me wind down at night when I’m having trouble sleeping.
This is just one example of what you might include in your list of ten herbs people might not know about but are incredibly helpful to their health!
Readers will appreciate these new pieces of information! Parsley, Coriander/Cilantro (use sparingly), Fennel Seed. Fenugreek, Cumin Seed, Dill Weed, Saffron Flower Buds.
Chamomile Flower Buds (although technically a flower) and Chia Seeds round out my top 10 choices for healthy herbs to use in cooking or as teas or both)!
They all have so many amazing benefits that can positively impact your overall health and well-being so start using them today if you haven’t already!
The only exception would be saffron flower buds; they should only be used sparingly because they are quite expensive and have some potentially harmful side effects when consumed too frequently.