1. A Healthier
Way To Flavor Up Your Food
A 2015 article by the Washington Post points out one
underrated health benefit of herbs: They flavor food.
When our food is too bland, we’re likely to load it up with
things like fatty, sugary dressings, or unhealthy salt. Not only does salt
cause our bodies to hold in water leading to high blood pressure, it also has
no nutritional value whereas herbs and spices carry loads of important vitamins
The next time that you’re making food, flavor it in the
kitchen with extra herbs and spices so that you don’t end up flavoring it at
the table with less healthy alternatives.
Don’t be too afraid of salt, however. Iodized salt is how
most people these days get most of their iodine, so a little salt that is
fortified with this essential nutrient isn’t that bad for you.
2. A Source of
According to an article published by the National Institute
of Health, several herbs and spices, particularly garlic, are full of natural
While most people associate anti-oxidants with cancer – and
there is some clinical evidence that a healthy herbal cooking style can help
ward off cancer – the NIH points in another direction.
Lipoproteins like cholesterol often get a bad reputation but
all they do is carry fats around the body. Some of them, called “good
cholesterol” bring it to places where it is excreted or metabolized while
other kinds, called “bad cholesterol” bring it to where it is stored.
Any of these cholesterols can become oxidized, which lead to adverse health
effects, including some forms of heart disease and cancer.
So, the next time you feel guilty about how many
carbohydrates are in your pasta, feel better by adding some extra garlic to the
3. A Source Of
While cancer and heart disease are pretty big topics in
health, Jo Lewin, a nutritionist writing for the BBC, points out that many
herbs are full of flavonoids.
These chemicals, found in garlic, onions, rosemary, thyme,
sage, and other kitchen favorites, are anti-inflammatory chemicals that help
the immune system fight off more mundane illnesses that still play a pretty big
role in our overall health.
You don’t have to eat all of your herbs to get these
benefits, however. These compounds are also found in chamomile, ginger, and
echinacea, which are commonly used to make tea.
If you want to experiment with some less common herbs to get
in your dose of flavonoids, try dandelion. Now often considered a weed, these
common plants were once a part of the Europeans’ daily diet.
Their leaves can be mixed in with salad greens or used to
thicken stews and soups. Be careful where you get them from, however. You don’t
want to eat a lot of the chemicals that end up on the average lawn.
4. A Rich
Source Of Vitamins And Minerals
Many herbs contain minerals that we might not expect. WebMD
points out that cumin, a spice common in Indian food, is a good source of iron,
which most of us get from meat.
If you don’t eat meat, consider leaving it out of your curry
next time, knowing that you’re still getting some of the benefits, especially
if you’re eating whole grain rice, which also includes protein. Turmeric, another
spice common in Indian cuisine, is also full of anti-oxidants and flavonoids.