A dash of cumin, a sprinkling of cilantro, a few sprigs of mint. Herbs and spices are not only stellar for flavoring your favorite foods, but many also have outstanding health benefits.
Adding herbs and spices is one of the simplest ways to supercharge your diet. These tasty seasonings can do everything from boost your immunity to help fight inflammation, control blood sugar, and are wonderful for adding more flavor to your food without having to rely on salt. In fact, many herbs and spices have multiple benefits. Finally, an excuse to start an herb garden at home!
Let’s take a look at some of the healthiest herbs and spices to boost your immune system, reduce inflammation, and control blood sugar levels.
The Best Herbs & Spices for Boosting Immunity
Looking for natural ways to boost your immunity during cold season? There are several herbs and spices that can help your body fend off those pesky viruses.
Echinacea may help shorten the duration of a cold although as studies note, there can be quite a bit of difference in echinacea products. While there are many preparations available if you’re starting to feel a little under the weather, brew yourself some echinacea tea.
Ginger truly deserves its superfood status. This nutrient-rich rhizome has a host of benefits, including a compound called gingerol which may help battle infections.
There are plenty of benefits to eating raw parsley, including bolstering your immune system. Parsley is full of antioxidants which are essential in helping to fight off colds. This simple herb is definitely more than just a garnish for your plate, it can help reduce inflammation and also boasts essential nutrients like calcium, iron and vitamins K, C, and A.
10 Herbs and Spices to Relieve Nausea
Suffering from an upset stomach? There are several herbs and spices that can help alleviate nausea, relieve bloating, and help the symptoms of IBS. Ginger is the most famous, but there are plenty of other tasty options to kick stomach problems to the curb.
Try These 18 Herbs & Spices to Reduce Inflammation
With their anti-inflammatory benefits, these herbs and spices are particularly good at reducing chronic inflammation, which some studies believe can lead to diseases like heart disease, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and neurodegenerative diseases.
Anti-inflammatory herbs and spices may also play a role in pain relief. Here are some of the best anti-inflammatory herbs and spices to add to your diet.
- Chili powder
- Black pepper
- Stinging nettle
- Cat’s claw
- Evening primrose
- Cayenne powder
- Holy basil
The 13 Top Herbs and Spices for Controlling Blood Sugar
Adjusting your diet is key to controlling blood sugar levels and can help in the management of conditions like diabetes. Certain herbs and spices can lower blood sugar and help prevent blood sugar spikes. Adding a teaspoon or two to your meals or sipping on freshly brewed herbal tea is an easy way to incorporate them into your diet.
- Yerba mate
Herb and Spice-Packed Recipes to Try This Week
Wondering how to get the most benefits from all of these herbs and spices? You can try brewing teas at home (think ginger, mint, and lemongrass), adding a dash of spice to your morning cup of joe (cinnamon is always a winner), or you can hit the kitchen. Inspired to add more herbs and spices to your diet? We’ve got a few tasty recipes for you to whip up.
Chimichurri with Grilled Vegetables recipe
Chimichurri is typically used as a condiment for grilled meats, but it’s equally fantastic spooned over grilled veggies. You can also use it on your favorite wraps, tacos or as a marinade for tofu.
Ingredients for the Chimichurri
- ½ cup parsley, finely chopped
- ½ cup cilantro, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely diced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 medium-sized chili, diced
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tbsp vinegar
- Salt to taste
- 1 baby eggplant, sliced
- 1 small zucchini, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. On a large baking sheet lined with foil, place your vegetables and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until tender.
- While the vegetables are roasting, place shallot, herbs, chili, and garlic into a bowl. Add vinegar, oil, and salt. Whisk to combine.
- When the vegetables have reached desired tenderness, drizzle with chimichurri sauce and serve warm.
Gluten-free Tabbouleh recipe
Though it’s traditionally made with bulgur, you can sub it out for quinoa to make a protein-packed, gluten-free take on this delicious vegan dish. It also makes a fantastic quick meal prep idea you can enjoy throughout the week.
- 1 cup quinoa
- 3 bunches fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 bunch mint, chopped
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 3 ripe tomatoes, deseeded and diced
- 1 cucumber, cut into cubes
- juice of one lemon
- extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cook quinoa according to instructions on the package. Fluff with fork and allow to cool to approximately room temperature.
- Add parsley, mint, tomatoes, green onions, and cucumber to the cooled quinoa. Season with salt and pepper and add a light drizzle of olive oil and the lemon juice. Mix well and serve.
Vegan Potato Curry recipe
Curries get their heady aroma and gorgeous flavor from the wealth of spices which are used in the recipes. Different cuisines boast various styles of curry but if you’re looking for something relatively easy but ultra flavorful, this simple potato curry is always a winner.
- 4 large potatoes, cut into small cubes
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 ½ tsp minced ginger
- 1 tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
- ½ tsp mustard seeds
- 1 tsp curry powder or garam masala
- 3 bay leaves
- salt and pepper to taste
- extra virgin olive oil
- Heat oil and add onions, cumin, fenugreek, mustard seeds, bay leaves, salt, and pepper. Fry the onions over medium heat until they become soft. Add garlic and ginger and cook for another minute or so.
- Stir in chopped tomatoes, then add turmeric, chili powder, and curry powder (or garam masala). Continue sauteing until the tomatoes begin to break down. Add potatoes and fry for another three minutes.
- Add enough water to that so that the potatoes are partially but not completely covered. Place a lid over the pot and reduce the temperature to a simmer. Cook until the potatoes become soft, stirring occasionally.
- Once the potatoes are soft, stir in cilantro leaves and serve.
Boost Your Health with Herbs and Spices
The ways you can use herbs and spices in the kitchen are virtually unlimited. Whether it’s a dusting of turmeric in a soup or stew, a tablespoon or two of chopped rosemary over some roasted veg or some freshly made oregano pesto in a potato salad, reaping the health benefits of herbs and spices couldn’t be easier. Eat these herbs daily to boost your health and up the nutritional value of all your meals.
The beauty of it is with so many different herbs and spices, your palate will never get jaded. An ever-changing rotation will not only keep your food tasting fresh and interesting, but also allow you to reap the benefits from everything on your spice rack. The best part? Herbs and spices are suitable for virtually every diet out there, whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, paleo, or eat a bit of everything.
A final word for you, friends. Remember to check with your doctor if you have any pre-existing medical conditions, are pregnant or breastfeeding or are currently taking any medications. Certain herbs and spices may interact with medications, adversely affect certain conditions, and are considered unsafe for pregnant women.