Photo: ©The Healthy Epicurean
Today I welcome Rose Marie Baker, a nutritionist who believes in a responsible lifestyle through healthier eating. When she’s not in the kitchen, you can find Rose reviewing herbs and spices online. Some of her favorites can be found here.
We all want to eat healthier so that we can stay in shape, live longer, and keep our bodies free of unnatural chemicals and pollutants.
The problem is, many of the healthiest foods out there are just kind of, well, boring. At least that’s the opinion of many people, and it’s hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle if you find it bland and tasteless.
What’s the solution? Try some herbs and spices. Tasty and aromatic, these typically ground-up plants and seeds are nature’s way of dressing up your food without adding lots of unnecessary calories and fat. Find the right combination and you can make even the most boring food into a culinary delight. Even better, many herbs and spices actually have quite a few health benefits as well. Here are eight of best ones out there.
Cilantro. Not only is it great tasting (unless you’re one of the unlucky few for whom it tastes like soap), cilantro does a bunch of wonderful things for your body. Because of the large amount of vitamin K in cilantro, it helps blood clot better and makes bones stronger.
Ginger. Most people know that this spicy, delicious root can help with nausea (why do you think so many people drink ginger ale when they feel sick to their stomachs?), but some recent evidence points to the fact that it’s also a pretty decent painkiller, easing muscle soreness and joint pain related to arthritis.
Cinnamon. It’s not often that you can find a food that’s high in fiber, contains no fat or calories, and still manages to do a great job of satisfying our cravings for sweets. Oh, and did we mention that it also may help to lower your cholesterol and help people with type-2 diabetes to better manage their blood sugar levels?
Fennel. With its licorice-like flavor, lots of people find the taste of fennel to be pleasing. But what they like even more is the fact that it can help to ease heartburn and assist with digestion issues like gas and bloating.
Turmeric. This jack-of-all-trades spice has been used to help people suffering from everything from skin problems to depression to liver disease. Many of these applications don’t have conclusive evidence showing that they work, but there is quite a bit of research showing that it can help with heartburn and arthritis pain.
Cumin. This diabetic-friendly spice not only works to regulate blood-sugar levels, just like cinnamon, it’s also a great source of iron, calcium, and magnesium- and it fights the germs that can cause ulcers.
Rosemary. With its high levels of antioxidants and rosmarinic acid, rosemary can be a great help in protecting against inflammation. Many people also believe that it can boost your memory and learning by producing acetylcholine.
Holy basil. Yes, that’s right. Not just basil – holy basil. With a name like that, how could it not be good for us? Commonly used in the treatment of people suffering from high cholesterol, research indicates other benefits, such as alleviating asthma, upper respiratory infections, and diabetes. Experts argue that these effects are due to the compounds of the herb reducing swelling and pain.
These eight herbs and spices represent only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to healthy spices, and aren’t even necessarily the best ones out there. There are at least another dozen herbs that could just as easily make that claim. That means that you have a lot of healthy (and tasty) options available to you.