The Covid-19 pandemic has pushed many families to look for definitive ways to proceed with their daily lives as they normally should. Aside from these, the pandemic has also changed the way people eat their meals and how they should enjoy them. As a result, many people are now looking for alternatives to enjoy their meals while also being cautious of their surroundings due to the spread of the virus.
Despite the pandemic, this should not stop you from eating great-tasting foods. And you can do this, even with simple ingredients that you can find in your kitchen. Adding nutritious ingredients to your food like herbs and spices can help boost your immune system while enjoying your meal.
Besides adding aroma and flavor to your food, your kitchen herbs and spices provide much more than just satisfying your cravings. Herbs and spices can make your cooking less boring as it accentuates its taste and at the same promote a healthier lifestyle.
Yes, you heard that right a healthier lifestyle! With the right herbs to spice up your meal, you are guaranteed to gain health benefits that protect you from unwanted viruses and diseases.
The benefits of herbs that fight diseases go beyond additional aroma. They also provide antiviral benefits and health immunity boosts to give you more confidence that your family is safe even outside the comfort of your home.
How do herbs affect our appetite when we eat?
Fruits and vegetables are not the only things you can find on your local grocery that can keep you healthy. Sometimes incorporating these two – albeit good for the body due to its vitamins and mineral contents – can make your meal taste bland and boring making us eat less than needed.
Eating meals are meant for keeping us strong and providing us fuel to have the energy to accomplish our everyday activities. And including herbs are just as important as any other ingredients to add taste, aroma and flavor to your food and improve our appetite. According to Healthline.com, there are variety of herbs and spices that can help improve appetite and at the same time your digestion.
Spices and herbs triggers the production of bile, a digestive fluid produced by the liver that aids in fat digestion. This will make you eat more without having a heavy stomach.
Moreover, the health benefits of herbs is also extended by how it can improve the aroma of the food to improve appetite. The food’s aroma can also stimulate your salivary glands giving you the urge to eat.
Health Benefits of Herbs in Your Meals
Herbs are dried or fresh plants that are used to enhance the flavor of food in small amounts. It is either mixed along with the other ingredients or as a garnish to accompany your meal to give it a more appealing look.
See! Herbs have a lot to offer to make every meal full of excitement. Herbs can be used for a variety of purposes, from culinary to medicinal, and they can enhance your recipe and provide additional protection for your body and those who will consume it.
In this section, we’ll go over the advantages of herbs and spices that go beyond simply flavoring your food. Simply put, we will look into several advantages of herbs to human health.
Here are some of the benefits of adding herbs to your family meals:
- heart disease, cancer, respiratory infections and diabetes prevention and disease control
- help in reducing the risk of blood clots and have anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties
- Has an antimicrobial, antiviral properties and a powerful antioxidant in the fight against free radicals
- Lower blood sugar levels and prevent the development of type 2 diabetes
- Can strengthen your cognitive performance, memory and brain function
- Improve vascular and metabolic health
Storing and Preparing Your Kitchen Herbs
Herbs, like any other ingredient, should be stored properly as you will be using them on a regular basis. Before we get started, let’s talk about the differences between fresh and dried herbs as both use different methods to store and prepare.
Fresh herbs, according to Masterclass.com, are generally preferred to use in cooking as it has more nutrients locked in its moisture. This means that the vitamin and mineral contents are more rich and natural compared to dried herbs. These leafy plants add flavors and aromas to a variety of dishes and are frequently used as garnish. This helps in giving the food a more appealing appearance.
Keep in mind that the priority when preparing fresh kitchen herbs is to retain and contain their moisture. Why? Because you want to keep it as fresh as possible for as long as possible. This will help to maintain the nutrient and quality of the herbs when they are freshly picked from the garden.
Fresh herbs can be stored in two ways: in a plastic bag or in a jar with water. However, before storing them, make sure to rinse them in running water and gently dry them with a tissue.
Properly storing fresh herbs is pretty straightforward and simple. When storing fresh herbs in a jar, keep them upright and avoid soaking the leaves in water, as this can shorten their lifespan. When storing it in a plastic bag, however, make sure it is airtight to retain its moisture. After that, place the airtight plastic bag in your refrigerator.
Unlike fresh herbs, dried herbs are far more used in small quantities due to the richness of its added taste and flavor to the food. As a general rule of thumb, you need three times as much fresh herbs to achieve the same flavor of its dry counterpart.
Moreover, dried herbs undergo a dehydration process which means it can be stored for up to six months in a tight container and at room temperature. This makes dried herbs easier to store and also have a longer shelf life.
List of common kitchen herbs to boost immune system and keep you away from diseases
No one wants bland food, nor do they want food that does not benefit a healthful diet. Food ingredients, such as herbs and spices, should be used not only to spice up your taste buds but also give human health advantages to keep you safe amidst these trying times.
When we do marketing, we always make it a point to include herbs and spices because these are essential ingredients that help to make our food taste and smell at their best. We all know what these ingredients can do to enhance flavor but many of us do not realize that these cooking elements contain substances that help to improve our health.
Here are the top 10 common herbs that work to protect us from diseases:
1. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne pepper is a very common spice that you can see in any market. It is a wonderful spice that helps to protect us from cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure. When used as an ingredient, it has a positive effect on the taste buds. It works to improve digestion, prevent nausea, and relieve gas pains. It also helps to thin phlegm and ease congestion in the respiratory tract.
Cayenne pepper is obviously high in nutrients, given the health benefits it can provide. In fact, it contains vitamin C, A, B6, and K which are beneficial to bone health, boost immunity from diseases, and growth.
A single cayenne pepper can do so much to your overall health. In fact, it is packed with capsaicin, which is linked to significantly improve pain relief, athletic performance and could even lower blood sugar levels.
There are many ways to prepare cayenne and make it an enjoyable pair to your meals. The following are some tips your can follow:
- Stir-fry with finely chopped fresh cayenne pepper
- Baked goods like cornbread and chocolate cake can benefit from powdered or fresh cayenne pepper.
- Add a pinch of cayenne pepper powder to egg dishes like omelets
- In dressings and marinades, use fresh or powdered cayenne pepper
- Cayenne pepper can be added to make a delicious fire cider
This one is a great addition to improve your food’s aroma. In fact, sauteing garlic can already give your meal a great aroma and, at the same time, improve its taste. Plus, it’s a rich source of allicin – which is also responsible for its smell – that helps you maintain your certain health conditions particularly related to heart and blood system.
Garlic contains natural antiseptic properties and it has a number of health benefits. Research suggests that garlic is useful for cancer prevention and aids in lowering blood sugar level, minimizing bad cholesterol levels and it lowers blood pressure. It works to reduce plaque in the arterial walls and prevents the hardening of the arteries. Garlic is also effective in fighting diseases of the digestive tract and diarrhea.
Although there is no evidence yet to support these claims, it is also believed by many as effective for common cold, osteoarthritis, flu symptoms and other health conditions.
People who are constantly involved in physical workout can benefit from this herb. Garlic also has properties that relieve muscle pain and helps in muscle recovery after workout.
Turmeric is a well-known and effective herbal supplement that gives certain foods like cheese, mustard and curry their yellow color. This bitter in taste herb is powered by curcumin, an anti-inflammatory compound and a cancer fighter. This substance is proven to work in reducing swelling, relieving rheumatoid arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties are one of its most important health benefits, as they allow for the repair of damaged cells in the body. Several research suggests that chronic low-level inflammation can lead to a variety of serious diseases and health problems, including degenerative conditions, metabolic syndrome and alzheimer’s disease.
Turmeric is packed with vitamin E, C and A. These are potent antioxidant properties that protect the body from the harmful effects of oxidative stress and free radicals. They help to protect us from early aging and age related eye problems such as cataracts.
Cinnamon extract and powder is a popular flavoring in a variety of foods, particularly pastries. Cinnamon came from the inner bark of the stems of cinnamon trees. When extracted, it is tried and forms strip-like rolls which we now know as cinnamon sticks.
Aside from its prized flavor and smell, cinnamon can also be used as an effective herbal medicine to treat a variety of ailments like metabolic health. Cinnamon, like turmeric, has powerful antioxidant properties that can help fight unwanted diseases.
Cinnamon is an herb and spice that contains a compound that kills harmful bacteria like E.coli and staphylococcus aureus and salmonella. The health benefits of this spice is believed to root from its cinnamaldehyde content.
It also helps to lower blood pressure, regulate menstrual cycle and aid menstrual cramps. Cinnamon is also known to provide relief to people who are suffering from anxiety and stress. In addition, a study showed evidence that cinnamon extract has effects in preventing viral infection and inflammation.
Oregano is a herb, from the mint, that is used to give additional flavor to foods. This herb is famous for its olive-green leaves which are believed to improve digestion and contain antibacterial properties.
Oregano is a natural antiseptic that contains 19 antibacterial compounds and four substances that work to treat coughs. It also contains properties that help to lower blood pressure and prevent stomach cramps.
Furthermore, it also has essential oils that is high in antioxidant properties that fight free radicals to keep the human body strong and healthy. Aside from its antibacterial properties, Oregano’s components, carvacrol and thymol, can also help in preventing other viral infections such as the transmission of human norovirus.
It is also commonly used to heal wounds, parasite infection and other health conditions. Oregano has been used as a herbal medicine for centuries by the people from the Mediterranean region and believed to have healing properties that prevent various diseases. These includes skin sore, muscle pain, upset stomach or diarrhea, common cold, and indigestion.
Ginger is beneficial for the digestive system. It helps to lower cholesterol levels, stimulate digestive activity, and provide relief from vomiting, gas pains and nausea. It is also effective in preventing motion sickness.
This flowering plant which is a common ingredient when cooking also helps in suppressing appetite and may also promote weight loss. This means that it can help people aiming to cut down their weight and stay fit. But weight loss can only be achieved by combining it with other healthy ingredients like lemon that is rich in vitamin C and also regular exercise.
Although herbs and spices are used in small amounts, they are undeniably beneficial. This is very particular for people who want to strengthen their family’s protection against viral infections and harmful diseases. And fenugreek is one of the most effective spices and herbs on this list that can help you achieve this.
Fenugreek seeds and leaves have lots of health benefits. The seeds are used to lower blood pressure, treat diabetes, and reduce bad cholesterol in the body. People also use it to prevent constipation, to purify the blood and to eject toxic wastes from the body. Fenugreek is also useful for increasing breast milk in lactating women.
In a recent study, fenugreek has significant effects on preventing chronic and cardiovascular disease from developing. Furthermore, according to WebMD.com, it can help to slow the absorption of sugar in our stomach and facilitate the release of insulin in the body.
Basil, similar to oregano, also came from the family of Lamiaceae or mints. It is known as a garnish across various cuisines such as Italian. It is used in their popular salad, pasta and pizza dishes that gives it a more accentuated and unique flavor.
Just like other spices and herbs, basil also has components that are beneficial to health. It contains carminative properties which help to provide relief from gas pains and stomach problems. It also works to delay the onset of premature aging.
Aside from these, it also contains vitamins and nutrients that are essential to provide energy to our body.
Clove is a tropical evergreen tree that is native in Indonesia and is also a popular ingredient for cigarettes. The tree’s dried flower bud is used as a spice for many dishes and is used as chinese and ayurvedic herbal medicine.
In fact this plant’s parts are versatile and can be processed to other products that are useful for medicinal purposes. From clove oils, dried flower buds, leaves down to its stems can be used as a herbal medicine.
Clove contains 60 to 90 percent eugenol, a powerful dental analgesic that effectively stops tooth pain. It also helps to lower blood sugar and speed up the healing of cold sores.
10. Black pepper
Since we’re talking about spices and herbs, don’t forget about the famous black black pepper, which is used all over the world. Black pepper, if not the most famous, is one of the most popular and commonly used herbs and spices used in various dishes. It is not only utilized to add flavor and aroma to your soup on the table.
This spice also has beneficial effects to the digestive system by stimulating salivation and preventing indigestion and gas pains. It also helps the body to absorb curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory substance found in turmeric.
In addition, black pepper is high in a chemical called piperine that may decrease pain, facilitate better breathing, and improve cognitive functions.
These are some of the most common herbs and spices that work to provide you and your family with health benefits aside from adding flavor and aroma to your food.
Herbs as a Supplement for Better Immune Response
Unlike modern medicine, taking herbal supplements is one of the most natural ways to protect us from viral infections. Essentially, herbal medicines are a type of dietary supplement that promote better protection against viral disease and maintain health.
Herbal medicines are also known to help in boosting natural killer cells to protect the body from infected cells or tumor cells.
Benefits of Using Herbal Medicines
Traditional herbal medicine has been known for years as an alternative remedy that can help treat ailments naturally. It comes with benefits that can promote a better well being, treat disease and improve our overall health.
Listed below are the following benefit of taking herbal medicine:
- It is less expensive and easier to obtain than prescription medications
- Promotes strengthening of immune system
- Less harmful side effects to the body
- Can aid in the prevention of diseases and other ailments
- Stimulate better metabolic health
Things to Keep in Mind When Choosing Herbal Medicine
Taking herbal medicine is not meant to serve as an alternative medicine to completely treat sickness. Herbal medicines are remedies that may improve your health due to its natural herb contents that are beneficial to protect the body from harmful diseases. Thus, it is imperative to remember several factors before purchasing herbal medicine to boost your immunity.
- Make sure it has undergone clinical trials, registered and regulated
- Always be mindful when purchasing herbal medicines across the internet
- Look into the ingredients used and its quality, as well as the dosage
- Conduct thorough research on the product or consult your doctor
Despite the fact that herbal medicine is natural, seeking the help of health and wellness professionals is still the most practical way to ensure that you get the right treatment.
Herbal medicines, unlike other drugs, are not subject to clinical trials because the Food and Drug Administration considers them to be food. To ensure that you are taking a regulated herbal medicine, make sure to consult health professionals and ensure that you will benefit from taking the supplement.
Make your kitchen a healthy place with the help of herbs and naturally prevent diseases. Find out more about healthy foods and their benefits by visiting our food-related blogs.