Anyone who is trying to lose weight knows that reducing calories is essential. Cutting calories from your diet are difficult, especially when most of the tasty foods we love are with strong flavour and loaded with calories and all the fast food restaurants are on every corner. Do not worry – aromatic, colourful, tasty herbs can make dishes tastier than ever while maintaining low numbers on the scales.
Herbs should not be reduced to the corner of your plate as a humble side dish, especially with their strong polyphenols (components of plants that fight oxidative stress and inflammation) that can help you prevent cancer, type 2 diabetes and deterioration of cognitive functions. In addition to these benefits for the body, their best quality is that actually have no calories.
There are over 40 varieties of basil and each has a different colour, taste, texture and shape. It does more than adding colour and rich taste to your pasta and pesto. Studies have shown that there is a powerful anti-inflammatory action – blocking cytokines that cause inflammation and its mediators. In addition to that its essential oils can reduce cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar, which can protect you from heart disease and diabetes. Phenolic compounds of the basil and especially flavonoids and vitamins A, C and E may help prevent cancer. It can also protect you from foodborne diseases due to antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties.
Oregano is a killer! And by killer I mean that kills bacteria and fungi with two phytochemicals: thymol and carvacrol. It also contains powerful antioxidant rosemary acid, which is linked to a healthy immune system. Other ingredients in oregano have been shown to act in the fight against infections of the upper respiratory tract and cancer. Oregano fits well in Italian and Mediterranean dishes.
This undervalued herb contains a significant amount of vitamins K, A and C. Parsley contains the flavonoid myricetin, which according to researchers prevents skin cancer. It also contains a large dose of chlorophyll, which can help in inhibiting generated heterocyclic amines – cancer-causing compounds that are produced when making meat grilled at very high temperatures. It also protects the bones due to the high content of vitamin K. Vitamin K improves the absorption of calcium.
Add it freshly chopped on your tomato sauce, seafood and chicken, eggs, baked, or mashed potatoes.
Dill can support your immune system with high amounts of vitamins A and C. Bonus: these two vitamins keep eyes and skin healthy. In addition, the flavonoid quercetin can reduce inflammation.
Make handmade vegetarian appetiser with nonfat yoghurt, chopped dill, salt and pepper. It also fits well with grilled salmon and other seafood.
This basic element of Spanish cuisine is rich in vitamin K, which is essential for bone health and brain. It may also help relieve the symptoms of exposure to toxic chemicals, such as mercury. Various studies have shown its ability to reduce stress and insomnia.
Coriander is very versatile – add it in salsa, salads, pesto, sandwiches, soups, pasta and lean meat, fish or chicken on the grill.
Rosemary contains many antioxidants, especially those that fight inflammation. It can also improve cognitive functioning, to enhance memory and learning ability, it helps in increasing the production of acetylcholine. This chemical causes the muscles to contract.
Rosemary adds a special flavour to roasted chicken, turkey or potatoes.
Of course, when you think about mint, immediately guessed a refreshing mojito, but there are many other ways to use fresh mint. Add it to fruit salads, soups, chopped vegetable salads or dishes with lamb. Add some mint leaves and slices of cucumber to your water. Studies have shown that it can help with digestive problems, especially irritable bowel syndrome. Rosemary acid helps to relieve allergies. Boil some mint tea when you have a cold – menthol in peppermint is a natural decongestant.
This seasoning with lemon-like flavour with small tender leaves adds flavour to pretty much everything. Several studies have shown the possibilities of thyme to lowering the blood pressure, prevents colon and breast cancer, and diseases of the digestive system.
Use it with beef, venison, chicken, lamb, pork, carrots and soups.
Sage is one of the best herbs when it comes to antioxidant composition. Studies show that it improves memory and can lower the cholesterol and blood sugar. Sprinkle pork or chicken with it.
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