Herbs are not only a great way to add more flavor to your favorite healthy meals, they also provide more health benefits than most realize. Fresh herbs are the healthiest, not to mention the most flavorful. You can buy them at the market, but many are very easy to grow yourself. Nothing makes a meal more enticing than a good blend of herbs and spices. Can’t find a way to use all those fresh herbs? Learn how to freeze herbs to preserve their flavor and nutritional value.
Lose the salt! Enhance flavor and your health with these 11 incredibly powerful herbs.
1. Basil: Basil is so versatile and tastes great in so many dishes, particularly anything with tomatoes.
It’s health benefits are as numerous as the dishes it can be used in. It is easy to grow in containers and in the garden.
nutrient dense – excellent source of magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, and vitamins A & C
fights free radical damage and protects the heart and lungs
2. Chives: Chives are simple to grow and give a great “oniony” flavor to your favorite dishes. Chop them up and use them fresh to give an added zip to soups, salads, and entrees.
anti-oxidants that prevent cancer
nutrient dense with beta-carotene, vitamin k, folic acid, potassium and calcium
3. Cilantro: The distinctive flavor of Cilantro is a favorite in Mexican and Mediterranean cuisine. It grows very well in warmer climates and both the leaves and seeds (called coriander) can be used to flavor a variety of dishes.
Rich in anti-oxidants and fiber that reduce LDL cholesterol
good source of potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and iron.
Excellent source of folic acid, niacin, riboflavin, beta carotene, and vitamins A , C and K.
maintains healthy mucous membranes
4. Dill: The distinctive flavor of dill isn’t just for pickles! It is an easy to grow annual herb and a favorite for many beginning gardeners. Dill is used often in dressings and fish dishes. It is an aromatic, somewhat bittersweet herb that is loaded with health benefits.
shown in studies to reduce cholesterol
good source of fiber, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium
5. Mint: Mint is by far the easiest herb to grow, thriving in nearly any condition. It’s best to keep it in a container or it will quickly take over the garden. Fresh mint can be used for tea, salads and as a garnish. It has a variety of health benefits.
contains phytochemicals that prevent many cancers
stimulates and enhances mood
excellent source of vitamins A and C
6. Oregano: Oregano has been used for thousands of years both as a culinary herb and for its health benefits. Like Basil, it is often used to enhance the flavor of tomato based and Italian dishes. When you see how many health benefits it has, you may want to sprinkle a bit extra into your next meal.
good source of fiber
nutrient dense: good source of vitamins K & E, manganese, iron, calcium and tryptophan
contains powerful anti-oxidants to prevent cancer
7. Parsley: You see it used a lot as garnish, but parsley is a very flavorful, easy to grow biennial plant. It can be used in salads, soups and other dishes. Don’t dismiss parsley as a simple decoration, it possesses a powerful array of health benefits.
inhibits tumor formation
high folic acid content protects against heart disease
protects against Rheumatoid Arthritis
prevents and helps treat bladder infections
8. Rosemary: This highly useful, aromatic and easy to grow herb is a favorite not only in foods but also in natural beauty products like soaps and shampoos. Rosemary has a rich, distinctive flavor that complements numerous dishes. It also has many health benefits.
9. Sage: Another easy to grow herb with a distinctive flavor and numerous health benefits. Sage grows well in the garden or in containers. It serves as a natural repellant for some insects making it a great companion plant.
improves brain function and enhances memory
stabilizes oxygen metabolism to the cells
10. Tarragon: Tarragon is a perennial herb used in a lot of traditional French cuisine. It is widely available, easy to grow and can flavor a variety of dishes. It has some amazing health benefits as well.
lowers blood glucose levels
protects against heart attack and stroke
excellent source of the minerals calcium, manganese, magnesium, potassium, copper, iron and zinc
11. Thyme: Thyme is a staple in Middle Eastern cooking. It is widely available and versatile. It has a warm, woody flavor and is often used with roasted vegetables or grilled foods. It can be easily grown in pots.
rich in potassium, calcium, manganese, magnesium, selenium and iron
rich in vitamins A, K, E, C and folic acid