Herbs, spices and extracts are things we often use to season our foods and give it more flavour both before, during and after the cooking process. But giving food a more flavourful taste isn’t all they’re good for, as some of them can actually be beneficial to your health in a lot of different ways.
First, we’ll begin with salt – also known as sodium. While salt is a mineral that is essential for our bodies, it’s also something that we get far too much of. The body only requires approximately 2 to 3 grams of salt per day. Anything in excess of that can cause certain mineral imbalances, such as with calcium and potassium levels, and can have other harmful effects on the body, such as high blood pressure, which can increase the risk of heart disease. You can also develop bloating and face puffiness as a result of too much salt consumption. Like other sugary foods and things we like to indulge in, it’s very possible to become addicted to sodium, so if it’s something you’re using a lot of then you need to cut back.
Sitting right next to salt on the popularity scale of seasonings is black pepper. Aside from giving food that extra spicy kick, it has many great health benefits. It helps increase the levels of other nutrients such as calcium, which strengthens bones, potassium, which controls both the heart rate and blood pressure as well as helps the stomach to digest food, and zinc.
Basil is another popular herb. It’s quite aromatic and is usually described as smelling like a mix of pepper and mint, with a slightly sweet but savoury taste. It’s a good immune system stimulate and can help fight infection. It’s also a good source of Vitamin A, which helps promote healthy eyesight, a good source of magnesium, which helps promote blood flow, as well as works as an anti-inflammatory.
Bay leaves are also used to add more flavour to things like soups, stews, and marinades; but in addition to giving these foods flavour, bay leaves are also good for fighting both bacterial and fungal infections and reducing stress. Your health isn’t all that bay leaves are good for, however, as they can also be an effective household product. For example, crushing bay leaves and leaving them around your home (in something like an open container) can help ward off certain insects.
Ginger, which has long been used as a natural remedy for many different ailments, is both a natural antibiotic as well as an anti-inflammatory. It is most commonly used to relieve an upset stomach and reduce the feeling of nausea, but it can also reduce and prevent headaches, help with rheumatoid arthritis, as well as functions as an antidiarrheal, can reduce high cholesterol, and fight symptoms of the common cold.
Another great cold-fighting herb is oregano. It works as a great cough remedy, and can help relieve other common cold symptoms such as nasal congestion and a sore throat. While oregano is great to use in cooking, if you’re looking to fight symptoms of a cold then you may be better of buying oregano oil and placing a few droplets into a glass of cold water. While it may not be the greatest tasting thing when consumed this way, it has proven beneficial.
Cloves – especially clove oil – are something you may already be familiar with, as they work as a great anti-inflammatory. Clove oil, for example, when applied topically, can be effective in temporarily reducing the pain associated with toothaches. They can also help reduce symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Cinnamon is not only delicious, but also good for you. Not only is it loaded with powerful antioxidants, but it can also reduce the risk of heart disease, has anti-inflammatory properties, and even has a powerful effect on those with type II diabetes. It can also help those with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. That being said, too much cinnamon can be bad for you. Overconsumption could cause things like mouth sores, liver damage, and it may even interact with certain medications.
Dill is something that is commonly used on different foods, including salmon. Dill can help relieve urinary tract infections, can reduce high blood pressure, and is even good for digestion. It can also lower cholesterol, reduce depression, and may even help symptoms associated with menstruation, such as abdominal cramping.