We all use herbs in our cooking to enhance flavor
Did you know that herbs are a great source for antioxidants? Antioxidants have been shown protect against stroke, heart disease, and cancer. The best herbs for cooking also have antibacterial and antiviral effects which can help protect against contagious illnesses. Another benefit of adding herbs to your diet is that they can be used to cut your family’s sodium intake due to their strong flavors.
Here’s a short list of some of the super stars of the herb family that you should start adding to your family’s diet:
1. Topping the list of beneficial herbs is oregano, which has an antioxidant capacity up to 20 times that of any other herb and way higher than most fruits and vegetables. Incorporating one tablespoon a day into your diet can increase your intake of vitamins and antioxidants as well as fight E. coli and Salmonella. Add to pasta sauce, egg dishes, and soups. Our Greek Chicken recipe is loaded with oregano!
2. Dill: shockingly high in calcium! Add to your tuna salad, on salmon, in dip, in eggs.
3. Sage: has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits—one study also found that sage can improve memory. Add to poultry dishes, soups, and bean dishes.
4. Rosemary: stimulates immune system, may help people with asthma and/or arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Add to meats, poultry, potatoes, and soups.
5. Peppermint: anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant; aids in curing upset stomach due to its ability to relax smooth muscles. Add to cut watermelon for a refreshing salad, make tea (great for expecting hipmoms!)
6. Basil: contains flavanoids which have been shown to provide cancer protection and fight atherosclerosis and bacterial infections. Add fresh leaves to salads, pasta sauces, and egg dishes, pretty much anything with tomato, make Hipmoms’ pesto recipe (also has the superfood broccoli in it!).
This list is just a jumping off point for you and your family. Herbs are delicious and easy to grow in your kitchen window. (I keep a basil plant growing by the sink.) Just snip off some fresh leaves and toss them in your food. What could be easier than that? Experiment with flavors; just remember when using fresh herbs you’re going to have to use 2 to 3 times as much as if they’re dried since dried herbs are much more intense.