How will you add Herbs in your diet?
Food is one of the basic ingredients to stay alive. But that doesn’t mean you could eat anything you want because if the food is not beneficial for you it can cause you diseases. One of the reasons for getting sick is eating unhealthy foods because it just feeds your body but not nourishes it. But when it comes to healthy food, it provides essential nutrients to your body.
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If you are a food lover, you might know that whenever any food is presented to you it is always garnished or seasoned with some kind of herbs. Everyone loves that green chutney made of coriander or mint, with that street food ‘samosa’. Right? I think no one would disagree here, because it’s really amazing.
So the question is: Why are these herbs added to your food? What is their Role here?
You might answer it as: These herbs make the food look more attractive and delicious.
But that’s not correct as a whole. It is true but
Apart from its delicacy & attractive nature it makes the food healthy or We can say that the herbs improve the nutrient content in any food. Herbs are added to almost every dish wherever it can be added. It is an important ingredient in diet.
This article will tell you about herbs and how you can add it in your regular diet.
What is a Herb?
Herbs are green or leafy parts of a plant that have fragrant or aromatic properties which are used in a variety of dishes for seasoning or flavoring purposes, or in fragrances and even as a part of natural medicines. For example: Basil, Parsley, Rosemary, Thyme, etc.
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Herbs are often confused with spices but the major difference lies in the part of the plant from where they originate. The green part or the leaf of the plant is a herb, but all other elements of that plant is a spice which includes dried bark, roots, berry, seeds, twigs, or other plant matter. For understanding, we can take examples of spices – Cinnamon is the bark of a tree but Cardamom is a seed pod, Cloves are dried flower buds. Spices are used in dried form and Herbs are used in both dried and fresh form.
How Herbs are used in Cooking?
Herbs are often used in most of the recipes as an important ingredient because it adds flavour to the dish and makes it delicious and attractive. They are used in the cooking process as dried like spices and even fresh. Dried herbs are added to the dish while cooking to add the flavour to the dish and fresh herbs are added after the completion of the cooking process just like a simple sparkling to bring the bright flavor to the dish. Some herbs are even used in fresh form as a key ingredient for some dishes.
Common dried herbs used are – Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, and Thyme.
Common fresh herbs used are – Mint, Cilantro, and Parsley.
How the Herbs can be stored?
The storage of herbs depends on whether it is dried or fresh. Dried herbs can be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark and dry space cabinet while fresh herbs can be stored in a refrigerator after washing and wrapping it in a paper towel sealed in a zip top bag.
Benefits of Herbs
Herbs contain nutrients which improve the health conditions of our body. Here we mention some of the common health benefits.
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- It increases appetite
- It contains antioxidants
- It is a low calorie food
- It enhances focus and other bodily functions
- It prevents from diseases
How Herbs can be added in your diet
Herbs come with countless pros of home cooking. Either it be for losing your weight or for spicing up your everyday dishes. Here we will see some herbs, their health benefits and how it can be used in our daily diets.
- Parsley – Parsley is rich in antioxidants, Vitamins A&C, and the chemical apigenin which helps in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells. It also helps in reducing high blood pressure. This herb can be used in your diet as a garnish but it can also add flavor to chicken recipes.
- Stinging Nettle – This herb is effective in reducing inflammation associated with arthritis. It is also helpful in controlling dandruff, making hair glossy, and improving overall health of hairs. This herb can be used in tea, or in soup, pesto or creamy polenta recipe.
- Chives – This herb is rich in vitamins A&C, Antioxidants. It helps in reducing the risk of gastric cancer. This herb can be used in salads and pasta. It can also be used in the recipe of blue cheese and chive potato salad.
- Coriander – This herb helps in lowering bad cholesterol levels and increasing the good cholesterol levels. It also helps to lower the blood sugar levels. This herb has antibacterial and antifungal effects which protects a body against illness, especially food poisoning and it can be used in many cuisines from Indian to Thai. This herb can also be added to roasted vegetables or a nourishing stew. It can also be used to flavour any sandwich for pasta dishes.
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- Bay leaves – This herb contains an oil with an active ingredient ‘cineole’ which is discomfort caused by ‘sinusitis’. It can reduce inflammation and fluid buildup in the sinuses. It also plays a major role in preventing heart diseases, arthritis and It also supports the immune system. This herb can be used for adding flavour to stews, soups and sauces. It can also be used in a basic pot roast recipe to flavour your dish but it should be removed before serving and they should not be eaten whole.
- Dandelion – this herb is helpful in treating poor digestion liver disorders and high blood pressure it also improves gastroenteritis 10 all disturbances as well as liver and gallbladder functions this herb can be used for preparing tea and can be used as an infusion, as a food, vinegar, a tincture or even like a honey.
- Mint – This herb is rich in nutrients and has many health benefits like relieving indigestion and improving brain function. This herb can be used in summer drinks and in many Italian foods such as pasta or Italian cuisine. It brings freshness to the entire meal.
- Rosemary – It is a rich source of anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants and boosts the immune blood circulation and also improves mental performance. This herb can be used in cooking dishes of fish, chicken or beef to create a unique flavour and aroma.
- Basil – This is a very holy leaf known as Tulsi which is packed with antioxidants which is good for the immune system and skin. It also reduces inflammation, cancer and stress. It promotes cardiovascular health and it also prevents diabetes. This herb can be used in teas and many Italian foods and cuisines as well such as pasta.
- Peppermint – It can treat digestive issues like gas, bloating and indigestion. It is also good for treating aches and pains. This herb is used to flavour ice creams, candies, fruit preservatives, alcoholic beverages and chewing gums. The herb can also be used in preparation of tea.
- Oregano – This herb contains phytochemicals and Vitamin E and is very helpful in fighting infection. It also treats respiratory issues such as cough, cold, flu and bronchitis. This herb can be used in pizza and pasta sauces. It can also be included in sprinkling meat or chicken for flavour or for marinating, for stuffings, chopping and mixing in bread dough to make herby rolls, or adding it as fresh in salads.
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- Thyme – It has a rich source of Vitamins A&C, Manganese, antioxidants and antimicrobial properties which help in preventing food spoilage and it also protects against microbial contamination. This herb can be used for adding layers of flavour in soup, sauces or braisis. It can also be used as a seasoning herb in potatoes, rice dishes, vegetables and even in fresh bread.
- Sage – It is well known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties along with containing flavonoids, phenolic acids and oxygen handling enzymes which helps in preventing oxygen based cell damage. This herb is notably used in preparing sausages and it can also be used to flavour bean dishes, tomato sauces, omelettes, polenta, chicken risotto, pesto and in sage butter for pasta and trout
Apart from all these, herbs are even added simply to drinking water. By this it not only adds natural flavor to your water but it also becomes easy to reach your hydration target and even helps in enjoying meals easily. Many herbs such as Rosemary, Basil, Mint or any other smooth & refreshing flavor can be added to the water.
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Herbs are a good source of nutrients, so we should always make a way to add it in our diets to keep ourselves healthy and safe. There are many other health benefits of the above mentioned herbs and it can be added in many more dishes, you just need to explore.