Herbs Spices

Are you ready to spice up your foods?

It’s amazing that herbs and spices can make such a huge difference in how your foods taste and add only minimal calories.  And there are health benefits too!  But, if you’re like me, you’re not necessarily sure what each of these flavors brings to food or how to use them.  This list includes 11 common spices, how to use them, and what health benefits they offer.

  • Basil is great in pasta sauces, mixed with fruits, added to stir fry, or with meat.  It’s best to add basil near the end of cooking to preserve the flavor.  Basil is a good source of magnesium and has both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Cayenne pepper will give foods that extra kick.  Use it sparingly though, as it makes food hot and spicy.  It’s great with all types of meats, can be added with lemon for marinades, added to soups and chili for a kick, or added to sauces.  Cayenne pepper is believed to be a natural pain reliever and may even help lower cholesterol.
  • Cilantro is an herb that is frequently found in Mexican dishes.  With its slight citrus taste, it is delicious with lemon or lime in salsa, guacamole or grilled with chicken.  Cilantro is also a good source of fiber and iron.
  • Rosemary adds a woodsy flavor to foods and is especially good with roasted meats.  Rosemary is reported to improve digestion, aid in circulation and is high in fiber, calcium, and iron.
  • Sage has a slightly peppery flavor and works well with sweet fruits and vegetables as well as several different types of cheeses.  Sage touts antioxidant properties and may even enhance memory.
  • Thyme is great added to beans, egg, and vegetable dishes.  It is an excellent source of vitamin K and helps protect cell membranes.
  • Tumeric is a spice that is commonly used in curries or to add flavor to stir-fried vegetables.  Studies have reported that tumeric has been shown to provide relief for some arthritis patients and is also a good source of manganese, iron and vitamin B6.
  • Parsley is one of the most versatile herbs available.  You’ll find it in many pasta dishes and sprinkled on top of many foods like meats and potatoes.  It’s health benefits include heart-healthy folate and vitamins A, C, and K.
  • Dill is an aromatic herb that is best with salmon or vegetables like carrots and cucumbers.  The oils in dill may actually help neutralize carcinogens and also contain iron and calcium.
  • Garlic is an easy way to add flavor to almost any food.  It is easy to eat with meat, add to vegetables and add into soups.  Garlic contains manganese, vitamins B6 and C.  Garlic has been shown to have multiple health benefits such as lowering cholesterol, reducing blood pressure and boosting the immune system.
  • Cinnamon can be used in many different ways including baked goods, adding to your morning coffee or sprinkled on top of oatmeal.  Cinnamon may help lower cholesterol and stabilizes blood sugar.  It has also been shown to ease the pain of arthritis.

What other herbs and spices do you regularly use to spice up your foods?  What is your favorite herb or spice?

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