Happy Herbs: Types And Health Benefits

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Published on: 22-Nov-2022

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Shubhi Sidnis

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Happy Herbs: Types And Health Benefits

Happy Herbs: Types And Health Benefits

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We can prepare meals to fill our stomachs but do we all know how experimenting with food to enhance its deliciousness and flavour can make us super chefs?

Herbs are such ingredients that have the potential to make any of your meals the best meal, as herbs are aromatic and flavourful in nature.

Adding herbs for flavour can make it more savoury for us, whether vegetables or whole grains, as herbs make everything taste and smell better. Moreover, herb flavouring makes it easier to reduce undesirable ingredients like sugar, salt, and saturated fats. 

Not just that, herbs are also rich in medicinal properties and can prevent many medical conditions, from general flu to headaches and anxiety.

There are numerous culinary herbs, depending on your flavour preferences and taste pallet. Let us have a look at them! 

Table Of Contents 

1. What Are Herbs?

2. Common Types Of Herbs Used In Kitchen

3. Nutritional Aspects Of Herbs

4. Why Add Herbs To Your Diet And Their Health Benefits

5. Culinary Uses Of Herbs

6. Tips For Using Herbs

7. Dietitian’s Recommendation

8. The Final Say

9. FAQs

What Are Herbs?

Herbs are an excellent way to add colour and flavour to any dish or drink, sweet or savoury, without adding fat, salt, or sugar. They each have their health-promoting properties, flavour, and colour.

Fresh herbs are generally delicately flavoured, so add them to your meal in the last few minutes of cooking. However, herbs should be used in small quantities or not at all, as they can alter the flavour of the dishes.

Common Types Of Herbs Used In Kitchen

You have grown up seeing and smelling lots of herbs, and now you can recognise them. Indian households have always had this treasure of herbs and spices in their kitchens to turn every meal fulfilling.

Let us find out how many of these following herbs we can recognise by their names.

happy_herbs_types

1. Oregano

These tiny but powerful leaves from the mint (Lamiaceae) family are highly antioxidants. According to a study conducted by food scientists at the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), oregano has 3 to 20 times the antioxidant activity of the other 38 herbs tested. 

According to the researchers, the herb has 42 times more antioxidant reactions than apples and four times more than blueberries, one of the most powerful antioxidants available.

2. Mint (Peppermint And Spearmint)

There are several types of mint, but the most common are peppermint and spearmint. Peppermint and spearmint originated on the European continent but are now grown worldwide. 

Spearmint is commonly found in desserts, teas, and jellies, whereas peppermint is known for its strong aroma. 

3. Basil

According to a USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) nutrition analysis, basil is a good source of lutein and zeaxanthin. High levels of these compounds in the diet have been shown to restrict the risk of age-related macular degeneration and are a leading cause to vision loss as we age. These compounds are deposited in the retina's macular region and appear to protect our eyes from damaging light while having direct antioxidant effects.

4. Parsley

This Mediterranean green is more than just a garnish. According to the USDA, a ¼  cup serving of parsley is an excellent source of vitamin K, providing more than twice the daily requirement. 

A study published in American Heart Association's journal in August 2021 found that people who consumed more vitamin K-rich foods had a lesser risk of cardiovascular disease related to atherosclerosis.

5. Rosemary

Rosemary, a member of the mint family, is prized for its flavour and distinctive fragrance, and it is easy to grow indoors, making it ideal for city dwellers with limited space. 

Its needle-like leaves should be praised for their antioxidant properties.  A preliminary study by Canadian scientists discovered that rosemary contains polyphenol antioxidants that may help slow the spread of cancerous cells and tumour growth. 

6. Thyme

It is time to incorporate some thyme into your diet! Thyme is another herb that is beneficial for digestion. It can also help with respiratory issues and skin conditions. Thyme, like other herbs, contains a variety of minerals and vitamins. 

It is high in potassium (which helps control blood pressure), manganese, and iron. Thyme is being studied for its potential use in preventing Alzheimer's disease.

7. Sage

Sage is a potent, slightly bitter herb with a musty mint flavour and aroma. It is frequently used in Mediterranean cooking. It is frequently combined with other solid herbs and seasonings of non-vegetarian dishes. 

8. Bay Leaf

Bay leaf gives sauces, stews, vegetables, and grilled meats a woodsy flavour. Dried bay leaves are less expensive than fresh and can be found in most supermarkets. To bring out the flavour of the bay leaves, add them early in the cooking process. 

9. Dill

Dill has a light, distinct flavour and is used in salads, fish, egg, vegetable, and meat dishes, as well as sauces and dressings. Dill should be added at the end of the cooking process because it loses flavour when heated. 

When possible, use fresh dill because dry dill has little flavour. Dill seed has a stronger flavour than dill leaves and should be used early in the cooking process to allow the heat to bring out the flavour.

Nutritional Aspects Of Herbs And Their Health Benefits

Fresh herbs, like green leafy vegetables, are high in vitamins A, C, and K. Polyphenols are also found in many herb plants. Polyphenols are plant compounds with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 

According to a 2009 study by Pandey and Rizvi at Michigan State University, diets rich in plant-based foods can protect against the development of cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis, and neurodegenerative diseases. Polyphenols found in herbs and other plant-based foods can also help to reduce chronic inflammation and the risk of chronic disease.

 The Health Benefits

  • Herbs may aid in preventing and managing heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. It may also aid in preventing blood clots and have anti-inflammatory and anti-tumour properties.
  • Herbs, particularly rosemary, parsley, basil, sage, oregano, and thyme, are high in antioxidants, which help to lower low-density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol).
  • Herbs contain unique antioxidants, essential oils, vitamins, phytosterols, and many other plant-derived nutrient substances that help equip our bodies to fight germs and toxins while also increasing immunity. Herbs are, in fact, low-dose medications.
  • Essential oils in herbs inhibit enzymes. It is a valuable remedy for symptomatic relief in people with inflammatory health problems like rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and inflammatory bowel diseases like ulcerative colitis.
  • There are also certain herbs to improve fertility and can be incorporated into foods for results.

Culinary Uses Of Herbs 

Herbs are a delicious addition to any dish. Not only do they add a distinct flavour and spicy taste to the food, but they also contain many anti-microbial substances that help protect your food from these agents. Chefs typically smear a small amount of herb and spice mixture over raw foods, fish, and meat to marinate.

Here are some serving suggestions:

  • Fresh herb leaves are incorporated into soups and green sauces.
  • Chopped herb leaves can add richness to vegetable and fruit salads.
  • Select healthy herbs and other spicy items to enhance the flavour and taste of the vegetable, chicken, fish, and lean meat dishes.
  • Mint and ginger are two herbs and plant parts increasingly used to flavour juices and refreshing drinks.
  • Substitute herbs like parsley, dill, and basil for half of the greens in lettuce salads.
  • Toss fresh herbs into the cold potato and pasta salads.
  • Serve soups garnished with fresh herbs.
  • Fresh herbs can be used to garnish an entire dinner plate.

Dietitians’ Recommendation

Herbs have an infinite number of applications. Aside from improving the flavours, smells, looks, and textures of your meals, the more herbs you try, the more potential health benefits you are likely to receive. Increased consumption of food-based herbs, like other plant-based foods, can have far-reaching health benefits. So, include more fresh herbs in your diet.

-Dietitian Lavina Chauhan

The Final Say

Herbs contain anti-oxidants, essential oils, vitamins, phytosterols, and other plant-derived nutrient substances that help our bodies fight germs and toxins and boost immunity. Herbs are natural medicines in small doses.

FAQs

1. What are the most used herbs in cooking?

Parsley is the most widely common herb for cooking. It is not surprising, considering how easy it is to use it. Moreover, it is pretty mild and does not overpower a dish easily, not as much as mint, for example.

2. What is the strongest herb?

Turmeric is the world's most powerful herb. It is grown in India, China, and Indonesia. Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant that boosts the body's antioxidant enzymes.

3. What herb helps you sleep?

Chamomile is a world-famous herbal sleep remedy that has been used for ages. This herb also has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial medicinal properties. German chamomile is best to take as a herbal tea.

4. What is a healthy herb?

Garlic, basil, mint, leeks, chives, onions, oregano, sage and many other herbs can help prevent and reduce cancer risk. Herbs are rich in antioxidants, especially cloves, cinnamon, sage, oregano and thyme, helping reduce low-density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol).

5. Which herb is the king of herbs?

Basil - the king of herbs, the all-purpose plant. Exploding with flavour and a trusted cure for many ailments. Basil is worshipped as a saint in India. The key to its flavour and healing qualities is deep inside its leaf cells.

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