Eating and enjoying delicious food is what life is all about. The more you make foods both delicious and healthy, the better chance you have of a diet that is good for you and keeps you well. One easy way to make food taste great without adding lots of fat or salt is to use a variety of herbs and spices. They have all been around for centuries and while many cultures have recognized their contribution to our health, the research around this is more recent to us.
Herbs and spices are any part of the plant that is used for its aromatic properties. The difference between herbs and spices is where they come from. Herbs are the leaf of the plant (e.g. basil, thyme) and spices are the buds (e.g. cloves), bark (e.g. cinnamon), roots (e.g. ginger) and seeds (e.g. coriander seeds).
Like all plants, most herbs and spices contain natural, powerful antioxidants that are linked with disease prevention. For example, its thought that the antioxidants found in certain herbs and spices may reduce oxidative stress and chronic inflammation which could help reduce risk of chronic disease.
Adding herbs and spices to meals is a simple but delicious way to add extra heath. You can buy them fresh or dried and these days, many people are growing them in their gardens or on their balconies. Dried herbs are more concentrated than fresh herbs, so you use smaller amounts of them in your recipes. Dried herbs are usually added at the start of cooking so they will reconstitute and the fresh, which are more delicate, are added at the end.
Here are ten ways to include more in your diet:
- Add dill to your pasta salad.
- Sprinkle cinnamon on hot cereal.
- Make your own pesto with lots of fresh basil.
- Add cilantro to your salsa.
- Season chicken or fish with rosemary.
- Don’t just garnish with parsley, add it to potato salad or tabouleh
- When seasoning cooked vegetables, try chopped garlic along with other herbs and spices.
- Eat pickled ginger with your sushi
- Add fresh mint to a fruit salad
- Make a hearty, flavorful curry dinner.