They’re not just about adding flavor. Rich in antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial compounds, herbs and spices have been touted for their health perks since the beginning of time. Here are 10 you should use more of—and how.
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Why it’s good: It shows promise for protecting against gastrointestinal and colorectal cancer, and can reduce blood pressure.
How to use it: sauté and add to sauces or pasta, mince and use raw in hummus or salad dressing
Why it’s good: It works as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent. Some research shows it can improve an upset stomach.
How to use it: add to curry dishes, egg or chicken salad, soup, or lentil or rice recipes
Why it’s good: Many think it increases blood flow to the brain, and it reduces carcinogenic compounds (HCAs) when meat is cooked.
How to use it: chop and add to potatoes, meat dishes, or frittatas
Why it’s good: Its anti-inflammatory properties can ease arthritic swelling and pain, and stimulate circulation and blood flow to the peripheral areas of the body.
How to use it: add to paella, ethnic dishes, or any dish that needs a kick; for fun, add to hot chocolate for a contrasting flavor kick
Why it’s good: It’s a source of manganese, iron and calcium. Some research has found that cassia cinnamon may lower blood sugar in people with diabetes.
How to use it: add to coffee and lattes, sprinkle on sweet potatoes, cereal, oatmeal, and grilled fruit
Why it’s good: it works as a digestive aid, supports milk production in nursing moms, and may ease colic in infants.
How to use it: roast and eat plain, braise with meat, add to soups
Why it’s good: it acts as an anti-inflammatory and circulation booster, and can help with dizziness and upset stomach from motion sickness.
How to use it: peel, grate and add to stir-fries, carrot soup, marinades, or fresh fruit (especially peaches)
Why it’s good: It’s rich in vitamins (folic-acid, Vitamin-A, beta carotene and Vitamin-C) and minerals (potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium).
How to use it: add to salsa, guacamole, and soups or cook into couscous or quinoa
Why it’s good: It contains antibacterial/immune-enhancing properties good for cold and flu season.
How to use it: use it to flavor stews and soups, add to salad dressing, toss into meat-based dishes
Why it’s good: It’s rich in antioxidants (has highest activity of 27 fresh herbs, says the USDA), and is used for respiratory tract disorders because of its mucus-loosening properties.
How to use it: use in any tomato-based foods (tomato soup, marinara sauce, pizza, etc.)