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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

9 Healing Herbs and How to Use Them in Your Cooking

Veggies are important and herbs are too.

By Sara Novak

fried tofu with cilantro photo
Sara Novak

We've been told time and time again to eat our veggies but more often than not we tend to forget that herbs can be just as crucial for adding nutritional density to the foods we eat and even better, they add tons of flavor to all our favorite recipes.
If you're a big fan of herbs then you know that they can be pricey so it's best to grow your own whenever possible and it's pretty simple.
Here are some of nature's most healthy herbs. They make us feel good from the inside out from calming our nerves to settling our stomachs. 

9 Healing Herbs 

1. Basil

basil pesto photo
Photo: Thinkstock
Chefs the world over love basil and nutritionists agree. Basil is rich in flavonoids which prevent cell damage from both radiation and oxygen. Two of the main flavonoids are orientin and vicenin. Basil also provides vitamin K, iron, calcium, vitamin A, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C, and potassium.

2. Ginger

ginger photo
Photo: Thinkstock
Historically, ginger is known for being very effective for an upset stomach as well as nausea. Its antiviral components make it good for prevention and treatment of the common cold.

3. Garlic

garlic natural health photo
Photo: Burke/triolo productions/Thinkstock
Studies have shown that garlic's powerful antioxidants are great for preventing damaging free radicals as well as protecting against heart disease. It's known to powerfully reduce high blood pressure as well.

4. Flat Leaf Parsley

tuscan white bean dip photo
Photo: Sara Novak
Parsley is rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. These components are good for controlling blood cholesterol levels and preventing constipation. It's also rich in antioxidants, specifically apiin, apigenin, crisoeriol, and luteolin. In fact, it's known for having some of the highest levels of antioxidants.

5. Cilantro

fried tofu with cilantro photo
Chinese Five Spice Tofu with Cilantro and Steamed Veggies
Photo: Sara Novak
Cilantro is known for its ability to pull toxins from the body. Often times when you're doing a fast, you use cilantro atop your kitchari to remove pesticides and insectides from your system consumed from the non-organic foods that you eat.

6. Turmeric

fresh turmeric photo.jpg
Photo: Thinkstock
A study reported on the BBC found that turmeric kills cancer cells. Tests released by a team at the Cork Cancer Research Centre show turmeric can destroy gullet cancer cells in the lab within 24 hours. That's no small deal. Now the question is, are you getting your fill?

7. Mint

eggplant with mint vegetarian photo
Eggplant with Mint and Capers
Photo: Sara Novak
The strong aroma of mint is very effective at providing relief in respiratory disorders resulting from asthma and colds. Mint is also good for promoting digestion so it's ideal to eat before a meal.