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10 Healthiest Herbs and Spices – Healing Super Foods

Updated on September 29, 2012
Oregano
Oregano | Source
Rosemary
Rosemary | Source
Thyme
Thyme | Source

There is something to be learned from the age-old practice of using herbs and spices.

These herbs and spices are actually super foods that add on interesting flavors to our dishes, cut down our need for the notorious salt, and even carry time-honored health punches.

While they are not scientifically proven to cure diseases, herbs and spices got antioxidants, nutrients, and other properties that may nip certain diseases in the bud and help our bodies stay in tip-top shape.

Below is a list of herbs and spices that would not just be great additions to our foods, they can also shield us from a number of possible damages to our bodies.

1. Turmeric

How it Helps:

A cornerstone in Ayurveda for thousands of years, turmeric is possibly the super star in the list of herbs and spices.

Its potency lies in its curcumin, which is a kind of antioxidant that does so many wonders that may include stopping the growth of cancer by suppressing carcinogens.

It can keep our tickers healthy as it aids in regulating our triglyceride and insulin.

It can also help in fighting inflammation, such as those in the knees, mouth, and bones.

It may assist in improving autoimmune diseases, in which our immune systems attack healthy cells by mistake.

It has been known to speed up the healing of wounds.

It has also been used to relieve colds and respiratory problems.

How to Fold it into Our Diet:

We can use turmeric as tea. Chop turmeric roots and steep it in hot water.

We can also use it to add spice to dips, soups, and casseroles.

Things to Keep in Mind:

We should look for fresh turmeric to make sure we get the most of this root’s antioxidants.

As in other foods, we have to use turmeric in moderation. Use only half a teaspoon of it as too much of it can trigger health concerns in the blood and gallbladder.

2. Ginger

How it Helps:

A super food that has found a well-accepted spot in modern medicine is ginger, well-known for its properties to calm upset stomach, nausea, colds, and other digestive tract-related problems.

It has been used since the ancient times to soothe migraines, muscle pains, and even menstruation-linked discomforts. In fact, it has been massively tapped by people suffering from osteoarthritis and other ailments that involve inflammation.

Its potency lies in its gingerols, compounds that combat inflammation like a pro.

How to Fold it into Our Diet:

Ginger is best consumed fresh as a tea or as an ingredient for coconut milk-based foods spiced with chili peppers.

Things to Keep in Mind:

When taken excessively, ginger can cause heartburn and can make bad gallstone problems worse.

It may also intervene with other medications, causing unwanted effects.

If doctor-approved, however, ginger can be very safe and taken regularly.

3. Sage

How it Helps:

Sage is one herb that sharpens our memory and keeps our moods from swinging, with some studies pointing out that it can put dementia, Alzheimer’s, lack of focus, forgetfulness, and other cognitive problems at bay.

Its strength is in its acetylcholinesterase, an enzyme that improves brain power.

Sage has antioxidants that do many things for the body.

Many people have used it for a host of health problems like upset stomachs, hot flushes, digestion complications, and sore throats.

Basically, sage is a nutritional heavyweight with its beta-carotene, calcium, copper, folate, magnesium, manganese, thiamin, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K.

How to Fold it into Our Diet:

Sage is easy to incorporate into our diets. We can use it for our soups and casseroles. We can also use it to add interesting flavors to our roasted chicken. We can even use it for teas.

Things to Keep in Mind:

Sage has a long shelf life. We can keep it dipped in water and refrigerated.

4. Thyme

How it Helps:

Widely used in traditional cuisine for several centuries, thyme has been well-prized for its aroma as well as its ability to tackle ghastly microbes.

It has antimicrobial properties that may fight food poisoning, contamination, staph, and Escherichia coli that can cause serious infections especially among kids.

Many kinds of mouthwash actually have thyme.

Other all-natural cleaning agents also contain thyme.

Not only is thyme good in fighting microbes, it is also excellent for easing digestion problems.

Lastly, thyme has a lot of nutrients packed in it – calcium, copper, folate, iron, potassium, magnesium, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, and zinc just to name a few.

How to Fold it into Our Diet:

Thyme is easy to use. We can put it in our vegetables, fishes, stews, and soups.

Things to Keep in Mind:

A little thyme goes a long way in terms of flavor so we have to use it carefully and in moderation.

5. Basil

How it Helps:

Long used in India for its brawn in dealing with asthma, diabetes, and stress, basil is indeed a super food.

It has properties that fight microbes and viruses and even has flavonoids.

It also has properties that help people with inflammations.

Basil has much-needed nutrients like beta-carotene, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin K that prevents blood clotting.

How to Fold it into Our Diet:

We can use basil in our pasta, pizzas, and salads – our favorite Italian foods!

Things to Keep in Mind:

Basils may be frozen while fresh. That way, it keeps much of its nutrients and lasts for a long time.

6. Rosemary

How it Helps:

Ancient Greeks had good reasons for sprinkling rosemary mists when they were studying. Rosemary is said to improve memory!

In fact, it has been found that rosemary contains carnosol that may thwart the development of Alzheimer’s and other damages to the brain inflicted by free radicals.

What’s more, early research shows that it may inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

How to Fold it into Our Diet:

We can use rosemary in our baked goodies – breads, pies, and cookies.

We can also use it for our vegetables, fishes, and white meats.

It is also excellent as a marinade. Rosemary can fight cancer-causing compounds heterocyclic amines that are typically found in grilled or fried meats.

Things to Keep in Mind:

We have to consult our doctors before using rosemary as a regular supplement.

High amounts of rosemary can induce abortion, lead to seizures, and lower iron absorption.

7. Oregano

How it Helps:

A component of the healthy Mediterranean diet for many years, oregano has been valued for its dietary fiber, abilities to regulate cholesterol levels, as well as anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-septic properties.

It has been traditionally used in treatments for cold, digestion complications, flu, fever, and menstrual discomforts.

It also has antioxidants that scour our body for damage-inducing free radicals.

How to Fold it into Our Diet:

Oregano is quite flavorful and leaves a strong taste. Thus, a little of it goes a long way. We can use it in a variety of Mediterranean, Greek, Italian, and Mexican dishes.

Things to Keep in Mind:

Oregano is available throughout year. We have to try to get the fresh varieties as they have more nutrients than their dried counterparts.

8. Dill

How it Helps:

Used for ages for its culinary and medicinal benefits, dill is packed with amino acids, minerals, monoterpenes, and flavonoids,

It has calcium, folate, magnesium, niacin, riboflavin, zinc, as well as Vitamins A, B6, and C.

Interestingly, this super food has been found to stimulate as well as calm the body, helping people with sleep disorders get ample rest at night.

It is also an anti-fungus, anti-microbial, anti-septic, and germicidal food, aiding people with dysentery, mouth problems, and diarrhea.

How to Fold it into Our Diet:

We can use it for pickles.

We can also have it in our salad bowls or as a tasty addition to our salmon.

Things to Keep in Mind:

Dill has been found to enhance libido because of its arginine, a type of amino acid that, among other things, may stimulate sex drive.

9. Chili Peppers

How it Helps:

Fiery and pungent, chili peppers have been used for a long time in medicine for its capsaicin, which enhances metabolism and aid in the burning of unwanted fats in the body.

This compound has been used to fight bacteria that cause ulcers.

It can also stop cholesterol from clogging the arteries.

Fascinatingly, chili peppers are also excellent topical pain relievers.

Again, their capsaicin does the work. It helps stop telling the brain that something is indeed painful in the body.

How to Fold it into Our Diet:

Chili peppers have been used for over 10,000 years in cuisines and medicine.

We can use it for a wide variety of dishes or as a spice to our dips.

Things to Keep in Mind:

Chili peppers can be very fiery to the tongue.

If we ever eat too much of them, we better drink milk, which can very well neutralize the capsaicin.

10. Parsley

How it Helps:

Parsley is a nourishing, organic food that has beta-carotene, calcium, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, potassium, as well as Vitamins A, C, and K.

It is said to help in the prevention of cancer through its apigenin, which ups the body’s resistance to cancer tumors.

How to Fold it into Our Diet:

Garnish our fish-based dishes, soup, stews, casseroles, and white meats with parsley.

We can also make it into a potent drink.

Things to Keep in Mind:

Doctors usually discourage the use of parsley during pregnancy.

Copyright © 2012 Kerlyn Bautista

All Rights Reserved

Herbs and Spices and How They Can Prevent Cancer

Comments

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    • profile image

      Rosemary 

      4 years ago

      You did a great job on your hub. This is very informative, so well presented and of great benefit. I look forward in trying the tips. Cheers!

    • yadik123 profile image

      Yadi Kusmayadi 

      4 years ago from Bekasi

      great article here

    • profile image

      wwolfs 

      6 years ago

      Interesting information on herbs and spices. Just recently I've started reading more about the health benefits. There are a few you have listed that I have never tried that I'm planning on buying. You did a great job on your hub. Thanks for sharing!

    • The Dirt Farmer profile image

      Jill Spencer 

      6 years ago from United States

      Love this article! Lots of good information. I particularly appreciate your "things to keep in mind."

    • jhunpaler profile image

      jhunpaler 

      6 years ago from Philippines

      Oregano :) informative hub :) voted up and useful :)

    • joanveronica profile image

      Joan Veronica Robertson 

      6 years ago from Concepcion, Chile

      Hi, wonderful Hub, interesting, and so well presented. A pleasure to read your articles. Be Happy!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      Had to vote this one up as it is beneficial to health, and very well written. I love the descriptions you post but really like the "fold into diet" suggestions. Thanks for sharing this important hub topic.

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