When we think of food and meals we don’t always consider the effects that the components can have on our health. This is especially true with the tiniest parts of our meals - herbs and spices. These are more the “flavour” additions to our dishes, but these items can bring incredibly powerful nutrients to our cells and bodies. These benefits result in the many processes in our bodies working better and more efficiently, like a motor that runs smoothly.
What is the difference between herbs and spices? This answer I pulled from a search in wikipedia:
In general use, herbs are plants with savory or aromatic properties that are used for flavoring and garnishing food, in medicine, or as fragrances. Culinary use typically distinguishes herbs from spices. Herbs refer to the leafy green or flowering parts of a plant (either fresh or dried), while spices are usually dried and produced from other parts of the plant, including seeds, bark, roots and fruits.
Every spice and herb is different and acts in different ways in our bodies. There is a profound amount of historical information on spices and their uses and importance. There are too many to list so let’s look at 2 spices - ginger and cinnamon, and 2 herbs - basil and cilantro.
Ginger has an amazing flavour and is recognized for its anti-inflammatory properties and ability to sooth upset tummies.
Cinnamon can be helpful for balancing blood sugar and it also imparts a nice flavour which can enhance sweetness of a dish allowing us to use less sugar. Simple.
For the herb basil - chopping a few fresh leaves can impart a very fresh and distinct italian flavour to your dishes and it is wonderful on a bowl of pho soup. Basil has been shown to help soothe tummy discomfort and other aches due to its anti-inflammatory flavonoids and anti-bacterial and essential oils. Dried basil is also spectacular in its benefits and flavour. It’s not just for pesto! Try adding it to your other meals and even summery beverages.
Similarly, cilantro is wonderful as a fresh addition in ordinary salads and even sprinkled on hot dishes/soups. Look for simple “cilantro lime rice” recipes to create a very easy “kick up your rice" side dishes. Very nice!
This blog space is too short to get into other powerful spices like cumin and turmeric - so we will save that for next time, along with garlic and onions and some simple meal ideas.
Eat well! Enjoy!
Recipes to Try: