8 Great Herbs To Spice Up Your Cooking!

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8 Great Herbs To Spice Up Your Cooking!

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Herbs, fresh or dried, are a wonderful addition to your home cooked dishes. They are great for adding flavor and to help to bring out the seasonings and flavors of other ingredients in your meal. Herbs can help increase flavor without needing to add salt and they add to the nutritional value.

Spices all originate from plants: flowers, fruits, seeds, barks, leaves, and roots. They can help preserve foods for longer periods of time and many have antibacterial and antiviral properties. The aromatic flavorings can transform a dish without adding calories or fat.

Here are 8 great herbs to try:

Cinnamon

It has the highest antioxidant value of any spice, with the amazing ability to reduce inflammation, lower blood sugar and blood triglyceride levels.  It helps alleviate nausea, increases sensitivity to insulin and aids in the burning of fat and provides you with manganese, iron and calcium. Because it has antimicrobial properties, it can help extend the life of foods you add it to.

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Thyme

It is a member of the mint family and is well-known for being used in French cooking and goes nicely with poultry. The essential oils in it have strong antibacterial properties and are often used to treat sore throats or mouth infections. It is known for its cancer fighting properties.

Basil

The bright green leaves are tasty and rich in beta-carotene and other carotenoids, which promote heart health. It has both anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties and has been known to aid in resolving digestive disorders. It’s most known for using in Italian cooking, but it is a versatile herb that can be added to practically anything. Fresh is the best.

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Dill Weed/Seed

It is most known for its stomach settling ability (possibly one reason why pregnant women crave pickles?). It contains a variety of nutrients and is best used in uncooked recipes or in foods cooked at low temperatures to retain them. It is a great addition to any type of dish with fish, to dips and dressings, to omelets or to chicken dishes. It has wonderful antibacterial properties.

Parsley

It’s very rich in vitamins C, B 12, K and A. It acts as a diuretic, so it’s great to add into your diet if you are feeling bloated or water-logged. It’s great to add to a green juice or smoothie.

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Oregano

This herb is commonly used in Italian sauces. It’s rich in antioxidants and also has powerful antibacterial properties. It is an antiviral, antibacterial, anticancer and antibiotic! It has been known to treat Giardia better than any other medicine. It is just packed full of antioxidants as well. Its oil and leaves are known medicinally for cough, fever, congestion, and body aches. A couple teaspoons added to a soup will help recovery from illness.

Cilantro

This refreshing herb is a bright addition to Mexican dishes and salsas because its fresh flavor lends itself well to many of the spicy flavors often used in Latin dishes. It is rich in magnesium and iron, it’s a good source of fiber, lowers blood sugar and helps the body fight against salmonella.

Rosemary

It has a high concentration of the antioxidant carnosol, which new research is showing that it may have benefits in cancer treatment. It’s easy to grow, low maintenance and fast growing.  It has a pungent unique pine/lemony scent that tastes delicious sprinkled on any meats or vegetables, whether roasting in the oven or on the barbecue. Water boiled with this can be used as an antiseptic.

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When it comes to buying fresh herbs, a great rule of thumb is to look for whatever is in season in your area. Most herbs are available year round, but they can be expensive. Try growing your own herb garden! It’s a blast and so easy. Fresh herbs are the best and not only add wonderful flavor without calories, they may also serve up health benefits as healing foods.

What is your favorite herb to cook with?

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