Adding herbs and spices to your meals is an excellent idea for lots of reasons. For one, they contribute to a rich flavour profile without the need to add salt, sugar or synthetic additives.
The key is to use your herbs and spices to enhance your meal rather than overpowering it! And not only are you improving the taste of your dish, but you’re also tapping into loads of health benefits.
In today’s post, we will discover 14 herbs and spices which will add a kick of flavour as well as some pretty fantastic health bonuses.
A favourite spice in both sweet a savoury dishes, cinnamon is a potent antioxidant. Cinnamon helps to reduce inflammation and can lower cholesterol. It has also been linked to a lowering of blood sugar levels. Try adding cinnamon on top of your next chai (tea, not syrup or powder!) latte.
Basil is an anti-inflammatory and antiviral herb which is used in many fresh and cooked dishes. It’s said to be good for digestive issues, perhaps due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Try adding fresh basil to tomatoes and slices of mozzarella for your take on Insalata Caprese.
Famed for its stomach-soothing properties, ginger is also said to help with inflammatory diseases like arthritis. Try an infusion of fresh ginger in boiling water to replace your morning coffee or add to warming dahl for dinner.
Another tummy tamer, peppermint is used to reduce nausea and is also said to reduce the discomfort associated with IBS. If you can’t find the fresh herb, you can use a high-quality, food-grade essential oil to get your peppermint hit. Try adding to raw chocolate treats for a delicious minty surprise.
A household staple, fresh garlic is a wintertime essential. Why? Garlic has compounds which help the immune system fight off nasty germs. You can add garlic to many savoury dishes, but remember that you don’t need much for a robust flavour boost.
Chillis like serranos, chipotles, habaneros and long chillis can add heat to a dish and get your metabolism firing. Most of the heat of chilli comes from the pith and ‘ribs’ of the fruit, so strip the insides if you’re sensitive to the fiery spice.
Turmeric contains curcumin, known as an anti-inflammatory which can be helpful in reducing inflammation like that seen in arthritis. Use turmeric for its health benefits, mild flavour and bright colour in dishes like curries and Indian-inspired soups.
8. Cayenne Pepper
Like the other varieties of chillis, cayenne pepper may boost your metabolism. Its active ingredient capsaicin has also been shown to reduce appetite. Try a sprinkle on your scrambled eggs for a spicy bite or dust into soup for a hit of heat.
Oregano is a powerhouse: antibacterial and antiviral. It’s often used in complementary medicine to treat colds, congestion and the flu. Try adding to your pasta, soup or other savoury dishes.
This delicate spice is pricey but has been used in traditional Persian medicine as a mood booster for years. Try infusing saffron in your rice to have with curries, stews or salads.
In Ayurvedic medicine, fenugreek is used as a hormone balancer, to lower blood sugar levels and also to increase milk production in mothers. You’ll find fenugreek in many Indian dishes and also in ‘mother’s milk’ teas.
Soft, grey sage can be used for lots of things. Linked to upset stomach and sore throat soothing it can be a winner in cold and flu season. Studies have also connected it to improved memory. Try adding sage to potato dishes, in risotto or as a mild tea.
Rosemary might be your friend during hayfever season as it’s been shown to aid with allergies and nasal congestion. Some also rely on rosemary as a memory stimulator. Rosemary is perfect for a roast or in a pie recipe.
Cumin is one of the most popular spices in the world, relied upon heavily in Mexican, Spanish, Middle Eastern and Indian cuisines (just to name a few!). Cumin has antimicrobial properties and is said to help with bloating. Try using cumin seeds or the ground variety in your next dinner recipe.
With this many benefits, we’d be crazy not to use herbs and spices in our CHEFGOOD meals! Check out this week’s menu and order to get meals delivered straight to your door.