We may think that we already eat healthy enough but there is always room for improvement or something that can be added to our meals. It can be something just as simple as adding a different herb to your foods when you cook them.
Each herb is created differently so I have decided to give you a little run down on some of my favorites to cook with that you can definitely benefit from nutritionally.
Basil: use in Italian dishes, pestos, on pizza, dressings, etc.
- known to have anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties.
- Basil leaves hold many important plant-derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties.
- 100 grams of fresh herb basil leaves contain astoundingly 5275 mg or 175% of daily required doses of vitamin A. Vitamin-A is known to have antioxidant properties and is essential for vision. It also required for maintaining healthy mucosa and skin.
- Vitamin K in basil is essential for the production of clotting factors in the blood and plays a vital role in the bone strengthening and mineralization.
- Basil herb contains a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids, which helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese utilized by the human body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
- Basil leaves are an excellent source of iron. Its fresh leaves carry 3.17 mg/100 g (about 26% of RDA) of iron. Iron, being a component of hemoglobin inside the red blood cells, is one of the chief determinants of oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.
Chives: chopped fresh leaves are added to sandwiches, soups, and cold sauce. It is also used in muffins, scones, quiche, pizza, omelets, biscuits, etc.
- They contain many unique flavonoid anti-oxidants, plant fiber, minerals, and vitamins that have proven health benefits.
- It also found to have antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal activities.
- Chives surprisingly comprise more vitamin-A than any other allium family member vegetables. 100 g of fresh leaves contain 4,353 IU of vitamin-A or 145% of daily recommended levels. Besides, oxidants such as carotenes, zeaxanthin, and lutein. Together, these compounds offer human protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
- They also have some other essential vitamins such as vitamin-C, and K, in fact; chives are one of the richest sources of vitamin-K, comparatively more than that of in scallions. 100 g of fresh greens provide 212.7 µg or about 177% of daily recommended intake of this vitamin.
- Fresh chives are rich sources of folates. 100 g leaves provide 105 µg or 26% of DRI of folates.
- The leaves packed with other B-complex vitamins as well as some essential minerals such as copper, iron, manganese, zinc, and calcium. The leafy greens contain several vital vitamins such as pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin in good proportions.
Cilantro: it enhances flavor and taste of vegetable, chicken, fish and meat dishes. The herb has also been used in the preparation of soups, and sauces. This is also used in a lot of latin dishes.
- Its deep-green leaves possess good amounts of antioxidants, essential oils, vitamins, and dietary fiber
- The leaves and stem tips are also rich in numerous antioxidant polyphenolic flavonoids such as quercetin, kaempferol, rhamnetin, and apigenin.
- The herb is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure. Iron is essential for red blood cell production. The human body uses manganese as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
- It is also rich in many vital vitamins, including folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-A, beta carotene, vitamin-C, which are essential for optimum health. Vitamin-C is a powerful natural antioxidant. 100 g of cilantro leaves provide 30% of daily recommended levels of vitamin-C.
Dill: Freshly chopped and sautéed dill is a great addition to green salads. This is also used in seafood dishes, taziki sauces. This herb is also used in the process of pickling.
- Dill weed contains many plant-derived chemical compounds that are known to have been anti-oxidant, disease preventing, and health promoting properties.
- It holds many antioxidants, vitamins like niacin, pyridoxine
- It is also rich in many vital vitamins, including folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-A, ß-carotene, vitamin-C that is essential for optimum metabolism inside the human body.
- Fresh dill herb is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamin, vitamin-C. 100 g contain about 85 mg or 140% of vitamin-C. Vitamin-C helps the human body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.
- Dill weed is a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium.
Oregano:used as flavoring agent in the preparation of pizzas, chicken, fish, and meat dishes. It has also been used in the preparation of soups, omelet, sauces, and pickling.
- It is a rich source of dietary fiber
- Oregano contains much health benefiting essential oils such as Thymol which has been found to have antibacterial, antifungal activities
- It has been rated as one of the plant sources with highest antioxidant activities.
- The active principles in the herb may improve gut motility, besides, increasing the digestion power by facilitating copious secretion of gastrointestinal juices.
- It is an excellent source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium.
- This fresh herb is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamin, vitamin-C. Vitamin-C helps the human body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.
Parsley:is a great addition to a green salad. dry parsley leaves can be used in the preparation of chutney, dips, pesto, etc.
- The herb is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. 100 g fresh herb provides 554 mg or 12% of daily required levels of potassium.
- The herb is also rich in many antioxidant vitamins, including vitamin-A, β-carotene, vitamin-C, vitamin-E, zeaxanthin, lutein, and cryptoxanthin. The herb is an excellent source of vitamin-K and folates.
- Fresh herb leaves are also rich in many essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), riboflavin (vitamin B-2), niacin (vitamin B-3), pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) and thiamin (vitamin B-1). These vitamins play a vital role in carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism by acting as co-enzymes inside the human body.
Mint:Mint leaves used extensively in the preparation of herbal tea, especially in the Middle-Eastern countries. It has also been used in the preparation of chutney, soups, and sauces.
- Peppermint-herb is an excellent source of minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, manganese and magnesium. 100 g fresh herb provides 569 mg of potassium.
- It is rich in many antioxidant vitamins, including vitamin-A, β- carotene, vitamin-C, and vitamin-E. The leaves of mint also contain many essential B-complex vitamins like folates, riboflavin and pyridoxine (vitamin B-6); and the herb is an excellent source of vitamin-K.
Rosemary: is used to flavor in salads, soups, baked vegetables, and meat dishes. It is used in the preparation of most poultry dishes and a great addition to potatoes.
- It has anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-fungal and antiseptic properties.
- The herb is exceptionally rich in many B-complex groups of vitamin, such as folic acid, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, riboflavin. It is one of the herbs containing high levels of folates; providing about 109 µg per 100 g (about 27% of RDA).
- Rosemary herb carries great amounts of vitamin A, 2924 IU per 100 g or about 97% of RDA. A few leaves a day in the diet, would contribute enough of this vitamin.
- Fresh rosemary leaves are a good source of antioxidant vitamin, vitamin-C; containing about 22 mg per 100 g, about 37% of RDA. It is essential for collagen synthesis in the human body.
Sage:Fresh leaves can be used in stuffing in season sausages, poultry, and fish. It is also used in many vegetable dishes, especially with beans.
- This herb tends to have anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-fungal and antiseptic properties.
- It is an exceptionally very rich source of several B-complex groups of vitamins, such as folic acid, thiamin, pyridoxine and riboflavin many times higher than the recommended daily levels.
- It contains very good amounts of vitamin-A and beta-carotene levels. 100 g dry ground herb provides 5900 IU; about 196% of RDA. Vitamin-A is a powerful natural antioxidant and is essential for night vision.
- Fresh sage leaves are a good source of antioxidant vitamin, vitamin C. Both dried and fresh sage are rich sources of minerals like potassium, zinc, calcium, iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium.
Thyme: has been used to marinate and stuffing to chicken, fish and meat recipes.
- Thyme herb contains thymol, one of the important essential oils. Thymol has been found scientifically to have antiseptic, and anti-fungal characteristics.
- Its leaves are one of the richest sources of potassium,iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, and selenium.
- The herb is also a rich source of many important vitamins such as B-complex vitamins, β-carotene, vitamin-A, vitamin-K, vitamin-E, vitamin-C, and folic acid.
Take my word for it after seeing the amounts of micronutrients that each herb contains its thyme to add them into your daily regimen and reap the benefits!