Boost vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants with a snip or two of fresh herbs.
Being a healthy eater requires you to become both educated and smart about what healthy eating actually is. Being food smart isn’t about learning to calculate grams or fat, nor is it about studying labels and counting calories.
Healthy eating is all about balanced and moderate eating, consisting of healthy meals at least three times per day. Healthy eaters eat many different types of foods, not limiting themselves to one specific food type or food group.
Eating healthy requires quite a bit of leeway. You might eat too much or not enough, and consume foods that are sometimes more or less nutritious. However, you should always fuel your body and your brain regularly with enough food to keep both your mind and body strong and alert.
A healthy eater is a good problem solver. Healthy eaters have learned to take care of themselves and their eating with sound judgment and making wise decisions. Healthy eaters are always aware of what they eat, and know the effect that it will have on their bodies.
We have researched the internet and found none ingredients that can make your meals healthier. Did you know that if you add oregano to your meal you provide yourself a quick way to load your dinner down with antioxidants? Lavender can provide you with a needed source of iron. Let’s all take advantage of those fresh herbs we see overflowing at our local farmers’ market and start our journey to healthy eating.
If you use only one herb in your cooking, make it oregano. This potent herb (which some chefs think actually tastes better dried) contains up to 20 times more cancer-fighting antioxidants than other herbs, on average, and holds its own against fruit, as well. According to USDA researchers, 1 tablespoon of fresh oregano has the same antioxidant power as an entire apple. And gram for gram, the herb has twice the antioxidant activity of blueberries.
Most people associate lavender with candles and potpourri; it has a pretty solid reputation for relaxing you and alleviating stress. But if you’re not cooking with it, you’re missing out on all the nutrients stored in its fragrant leaves. A great source of calcium and vitamin A, lavender also has a decent amount of iron and vitamin C, the latter of which can help ward off seasonal allergies.
Thyme has been used for everything from killing germs to curing colds. This herb is known as one of the most commonly used medicinal herbs. Don’t just keep this herb hidden away in your medicine cabinet, because we have found that just two teaspoons of this herb can provide just about 20 percent of your daily requirement for iron. Thyme is also rich in manganese. Manganese is a mineral that boosts our brain functionality as well as aids in healthy bone, skin and cartilage formation.
Interesting fact about this herb is that the ancient Greeks utilized parsley as an aphrodisiac. If that is not a great reason to incorporate this into your meals, how about the fact that it can freshen up your breath; but really, this herb is also a great addition to any meal because of the benefits it brings into our bodies. Just two tablespoons of fresh parsley will provide more than 150% of our daily requirement for Vitamin K. Vitamin K plays an important role in helping our liver function properly, in bone formation and in blood clotting.
This aromatic, citrusy grass is probably best known for its prevalence in Southeast Asian cuisine. And exotic lemongrass—which derives its flavor and scent from the same compound found in lemon zest—is not only a great addition to recipes, but also is prized in natural medicine for its ability to relieve fever, muscle cramps, upset stomachs, and headaches. It’s loaded with antioxidants, as well, which help protect against oxidative stress, one of the leading causes of heart disease and cancer. Studies have also found that lemongrass contains antimicrobial properties that fight E. coli.
Who doesn’t love a good grilled steak? But exposing meat (red or white) to the hot flames of a grill leads to the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCAs), carcinogenic compounds created when meats are barbecued or grilled. Add rosemary, though, and that doesn’t happen, according to researchers from the University of Arkansas, Iowa State University, and Kansas State University, who found that cooking meats with rosemary could lower the levels of HCAs by 60 to 80 percent.
Love it or hate it, you may want to make sure you always throw a few sprigs of cilantro into your next chicken dish. Researchers from the University of California have found that a compound in cilantro called dodecenal is nearly twice as effective at killing salmonella bacteria (commonly found in raw meats) as commercial antibiotics, and they isolated a dozen other antibiotic compounds that were also effective at killing other food borne bacteria. Those same compounds were also found in coriander, the spice made from seeds of the cilantro plant.
This strong-flavored herb is an antioxidant powerhouse, ranking just behind oregano in terms of antioxidant content, and this herb, widely used in herbal and traditional cures, boosts your brain power. In a study published in the journal Pharmacological Biochemical Behavior, 45 adults were given either a placebo or varying levels of the essential oils found in sage. Those receiving even the lowest levels of sage oils had better memory and subject recall, based on cognitive tests, than people taking a placebo. If you’re a local-food addict, try pineapple sage, a variety you can grow in your back yard that tastes and smells just like the tropical fruit but without the food miles.
Peppermint does more than just dress up a cocktail or freshen your breath. It ranks third, behind sage and oregano, in terms of antioxidant content, and it might actually keep you skinny. Simply smelling mint can reduce cravings, so much so that a study from Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia found that people who sniffed peppermint every 2 hours for a week consumed 2,800 fewer calories that week than non-peppermint-sniffers.
When someone is unable to take control of their eating, they are also likely to get out of control with other aspects of life as well. They could end up spending too much, talking too much, and even going to bed later and later.
You should always remember that restricting food in any way is always a bad thing. Healthy eating is a way of life, something that you can do to enhance your body or your lifestyle. If you’ve thought about making your life better, healthy eating is just the place to start. You’ll make life easier for yourself, those around you, and even your family.