This week’s article will be on the seasonings we put in our food that might get overlooked nutrition-wise. There are plenty of small herbs that contain an extraordinary amount of antioxidants and nutrients. Not only can you zest up a meal with these key ingredients, you will highly benefit by consuming these sprigs of health. We will focus on the three healthiest herbs and spices and give you reasons why you want to add them to your diet.
Basil is a highly fragrant plant whose leaves are used as a seasoning herb for many different types of foods. Basil has become one of the most recognizable herbs ever since pesto, the mixture of basil, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese, has become popular.While the taste of sweet basil is bright and pungent; it is a great herb for Italian pastas and soups.
- Anti-Inflammatory– Basil’s perks not only include a high amount of vitamin K, but it also can block the activity of an enzyme in the body called cyclooxygenase. Medicine like Ibuprofen and Aspirin block this same enzyme which reduces swelling and aches. This could benefit individuals ailed by Rheumatoid Arthritis or other inflammatory diseases.
- Cardiovascular– Basil is a very good source of vitamin A, which helps prevent cholesterol buildup in blood vessels. Basil is also a good source of magnesium, which promotes cardiovascular health by prompting muscles and blood vessels to relax, thus improving blood flow.
Dried Chili Pepper
Chili pepper is meant to but a hot zest into your meals. For you adventurous eaters that do not mind the heat, chili pepper can lend itself to many different health benefits. It has been used in all different genres of food such as Mexican, Thai and Mediterranean. However it can be added to anything to liven up your meals in a pinch.
- Fight Inflammation– Chili peppers contain a chemical compound called capsaicin, which gives the ingredient its heat sensation. Capsaicin is a potent inhibitor of substance P, a neuropeptide associated with inflammatory processes. This is great as a natural pain relief as well. So once your mouth recovers, your endorphins will rise. There is a reason many people are “heat freaks” because of the chemicals your brain produces when encountering capsaicin.
- Weight Loss– The heat that you are feeling in your mouth takes a fair amount of energy to produce, thus burning calories. The capsaicin you are consuming increases heat and oxygen production for more than twenty minutes after eating.
Cinnamon is a widely recognized spice for the US. It can be baked into pastries to create a warm, nostalgic taste. It is also used as a savory spice that is widely used in curry powder along with cumin and turmeric. The versatile taste is accompanied by its large variety of nutrients and vitamins.
- Anti-Clotting– Cinnaldehyde, which is found in cinnamon helps prevent unwanted clumping of blood platelets. This helps aid blood coagulation after injury and fends off unneeded blood clotting in the blood vessels. It also generously helps with blood sugar control.
- Colon Heath– Cinnamon is an excellent source of fiber and the trace mineral manganese while also a very good source of calcium. The combination of calcium and fiber in cinnamon is important and can be helpful for the prevention of several different conditions.