Liven up your food (and your health!) with herbs and spices! A point I’m constantly trying to hammer home, is that “healthy” food doesn’t have to be bland and boring. Mention the phrase “healthy food”, and people’s minds immediately flood with images of plain chicken breast and broccoli. Sure, you can have chicken and broccoli if you want to! But flavour it, for crying out loud!
Condiments and Herbs and Spices
There are loads of different low-calorie condiments you can use on your food, and many of these include various sauces and dressings. But what I want to talk about here specifically, are the herbs and spices I like to use to add flavour. In addition to improving the taste of food, many of these herbs and spice may provide additional health benefits too.
Of the various herbs and spices I use, I really like the crisp taste mint adds to food. And it freshens your breath too!
Mint also contains antioxidants, which help provide your body with protection from “oxidative stress”. Oxidative stress damages the cells of the body, due to free radicals.
Mint is a source of fibre, which aids digestion. And it also contains Vitamin A, Iron, Manganese, and Folate.
Peppermint (peppermint oil) in particular, can help with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and indigestion. It also seems that it may help alleviate cold symptoms, improve the function of the brain, and may even help decrease the pains caused by breastfeeding (not that this last one is particularly beneficial to me lol!)
If you’re a fan of hot and spicy food like me, then you’ll find cayenne pepper awesome!
Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin, which besides giving it it’s hot flavour, it also may provide medicinal properties.
Of the herbs and spices I like, this one may boost your metabolism, may aid digestion, may lower blood pressure, and may even reduce the risk of cancer. It also may help reduce hunger too (by reducing the production of the hunger hormone Ghrelin).
Cayenne pepper is also a source of fibre, and Vitamins A, E, C, B6, K, Potassium, Manganese, and Riboflavin
Sumac is probably my favourite herb. No word of a lie, I put sumac on just about everything! I will even admit that on occasion I have taken a little sachet of sumac with me to restaurants too! Overly obsessive behaviour? Probably yes haha!
Sumac provides a tangy sour flavour to food. It is also an antioxidant, a diuretic, contains Vitamin C, and it may even help reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
There are claims that it may help fight germs, help treat skin rashes, help treat joint diseases, and treat menstrual disorders. It also may have anti-cancer properties too.
Since I like spicy food, paprika is another one of the herbs and spices that I regularly use.
Paprika may help with digestion and may have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It also may lower blood pressure, improve digestion, and help with circulation. It is an antioxidant, and contains Vitamin B, C and E.
I don’t think I need to talk much about the flavour qualities garlic provides! Just make sure you don’t use too much or you’ll be reeking of it all day!
Garlic is known to have various health benefits too, supposedly lowering blood pressure and cholesterol. It is claimed that is can prevent blood clots, fights bacteria, and may even help prevent cancer. Garlic also contains Vitamins B6 and C, Selenium, and Manganese,
I really like the fresh taste of Oregano. It is an antioxidant, and may have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities. As well as being a source of fibre, it contains Vitamins K, A, C, Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Iron, Manganese, Magnesium, and Calcium.
Ginger may help with digestion, and may help alleviate nausea. It is an antioxidant, and also may have anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. There are also claims that it can lower cholesterol, improve circulation, ease menstrual cramps, and even fight cancer. Ginger also contains Vitamin B6, Copper, Manganese, Magnesium, and Potassium,
Basil provides a great flavour! Plus, it is a source of Vitamins A and K, Iron, and Calcium. It may have anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities too.
I really like using cinnamon with a lot of my food! I put it on my protein pancakes, in my protein shakes, and on my quark too.
There are claims that it can help with relieving nausea and aids digestion. It is a source of Iron, Calcium, and fibre too. It may have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, and it can act as a glucose disposal agent.
Parsley has an awesome fresh taste that can also help freshen your breath (if you’ve been having lots of garlic, you’ll probably need it!).
It is a source of Vitamins K, A, and C, and may reduce blood sugar levels. There are claims that it may have anti-cancer properties and may improve kidney function.
I just like them!
It must be emphasised that I don’t use any of the above-mentioned herbs and spices for their claimed health benefits. I just like the flavours and taste that they add to my food! But if they do happen to provide any additional health benefits too, it is an added bonus that I am happy to take! Flavour your food, guys, and say goodbye to bland boring meals!