People around the world have been using herbs and spices medicinally for thousands of years. For example, some believe that the heavy use of spices in India is the reason heart disease and cancer rates have been low there for a long time.
While there is no scientific evidence of this, one thing is for sure: adding more spices to your diet can’t be a bad thing, especially when you can use them in place of unhealthy things like excess salt.
Herbs and spices not only improve the flavor of your food, but they also contain phyto-nutrients, essential oils, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins. Here’s a list of some of the most nutritious herbs and spices:
Thyme: Packed with antioxidants, thyme may help with healthy brain function. It’s also rich in iron – just two teaspoons of dried thyme provides almost 20% of your recommended daily value, and vitamin K, which is essential for healthy blood clotting.
Oregano: Researchers have found that oregano’s essential oils and ingredients may help inhibit the growth of many kinds of bacteria and fungus. It’s rich in antioxidants and it’s packed with potassium, zinc, iron, protein calcium, magnesium, fiber and B vitamins.Cinnamon: This fragrant spice is a good source of manganese, fiber and calcium. In fact, two teaspoons of cinnamon contains 11% of your recommended daily value of fiber. And the combination of fiber and calcium may help lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease.
Cumin: A good source of calcium, iron and magnesium, cumin is an essential spice in Mexican and Indian cooking. Two teaspoons of cumin contains over 15% of your daily recommended intake of iron, which helps transport oxygen throughout your body and promotes a healthy metabolism.
Black Pepper: This kitchen staple doesn’t only add an extra kick to virtually any dish, but it also helps with healthy digestion and contains large amounts of vitamin K, fiber, iron and calcium. Two teaspoons of black pepper gives you a whopping 37% of your daily recommended amount of manganese, which is beneficial for good bone structure and metabolism, and maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
These aren’t the only healthy herbs and spices; many contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so don’t be afraid to sprinkle them generously and boost your health and the flavor of your food!