This is my second blog on adding herbs and seasonings when cooking for added health benefits. I want to take you one step further than eating the rainbow to adding complexity.
How do you take the goodness that comes from the colors of the plants and maximize their benefit in your body?
Choose complexity, every day,
Eat as many colors as possible. Move synergistically through the spectrum of health. The combination of colors in your daily meals will reward you with good health.
I suggest you eat three different veggies each night as a minimum.
Buy seasonal whenever possible. Each season has different fruits and veggies. Be experimental, try new produce each season. A couple of examples, I had never eaten kale, but have learned to massage it with garlic powder, olive oil and lemon which makes it super delicious. We have never made and eaten okra, but now we slice them into little coins, toss them with ghee and organic garlic and onion powder and roast them until slightly crunchy….yum.
Add variety, your taste buds will thank you.
Eat half your veggies raw and half your veggies lightly cooked. Steaming veggies for 2-3 minutes, many release their gifts to a form easily utilized by the body.
Three-quarters of your daily food should be plants, preferably organic.
Roasting vegetables brings out their best flavor. Shake in a bag with a little ghee, organic garlic, and organic onion powder and pepper (I used Primal Palate Steak mix, yum) spread out on a baking sheet (I use parchment paper underneath) and cook at 400 until roasted. Leave them slightly crunchy.
Make good partnerships with your food using healing spices in your cooking. As an example, the combination of turmeric, black pepper, and olive oil releases all its pain-reducing healing properties. Spices also make your food infinitely more interesting. Use fresh whenever possible for maximum benefits. I own what I call my mini chop. It is a tiny Cuisinart chopper that I use just for herbs and I love it.
I am listing just a few healing herbs and spices. Remember to start eating a new food consciously. I have 18 sensitivities, and many of them are herbs, so get to know your body and how it responds to everything. These all have health benefits for your body, so they are great to utilize in your everyday life.
Chamomile plants are used to improve several health conditions, including allergies, insomnia, anxiety, depression, arthritis, and gastrointestinal disorders. Chamomile benefits also include its ability to help fight skin irritations, relieve toothaches, PMS symptoms and muscle spasms, reduce inflammation and heal wounds.
Cilantro benefits include its ability to promote the detoxification of heavy metals, reduce anxiety, improve sleep, lower blood sugar levels, boost your heart health, support your digestion, promote skin health and fight free radical damage that can lead to a number of degenerative diseases. I am one of the people in the world that do not have the cilantro gene. Some of us love it, some of us hate it. I can only tolerate it in small quantities.
Cinnamon has potent antioxidant activity, helps fight inflammation and has been shown to lower cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. But where cinnamon really shines is in its effects on blood sugar levels. Cinnamon reduces blood sugar.
Curcumin from turmeric is also strongly anti-inflammatory. Its super good for our bodies. I use curcumin with black pepper as a supplement as well instead of over the counter pain medications. It’s a gift that has no downside, so it’s a gift that gives gifts. I did have one client that was sensitive to this, so move forward with caution. For me, its amazing.
Garlic can combat sickness and improve heart health. It can also cause significant reductions in blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. Garlic is a probiotic, so we also need it to feed the good prebiotics in our gut. Let garlic sit for 5-10 minutes to release all its goodness and then cook with it.
Add Ginger when stir-frying for its healing and pain-reducing properties. Ginger also appears to have strong anti-inflammatory properties. I also love to make ginger tea. Just cut off a slice and let it brew in hot water. Add a little raw stevia, and it is delicious.
Horseradish Root- The root of the horseradish plant can be used to fight disease because of its antioxidant power. It also has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which help to boost your immune system and fight infections. Some other horseradish root benefits include its ability to ease respiratory issues, treat urinary tract infections, aid digestion, ease pain and possible prevent cancer.
Eating mint, drinking mint tea or using mint extracts can help to aid digestion, relieve headache pain, ease nausea, improve and relieve respiratory conditions like chronic cough or asthma.
Onions have many possible health benefits including reducing the risk of obesity, heart disease, and cancer. Onion is also a prebiotic that feeds your good probiotics in your gut.
Oregano can reduce inflammation, fight bacterial, fungal, viral and parasitic infections, fight allergies and even shrink tumors. Oil of oregano is extracted from the herb to make a powerful antibiotic agent that can kill many species of harmful bacteria. It can be used as a natural antibiotic.
Add parsley, which is exceptionally high in lutein, and great for eyesight. When I was a little girl, I already had tons of allergies? (I believe now that they were sensitivities.) I could not eat the cookies and snacks that other children could eat, so my Mother would give me a handful of parsley to munch on. To this day, I love parsley. I will sit in a restaurant and ask permission to eat the parsley off everyone’s plate. I love, love, love it. Parsley is a cousin of cilantro. Not unusual to love one but not the other. Important to use one of them in cooking.
Eat foods high in quercetin (onions, berries, apples, and capers) for its anti-inflammatory characteristics healing the kidneys, the gut, the liver, and reducing allergies. Remember, quercetin is also particularly good for the brain. I also use quercetin in supplement form for hay fever and allergies. Again, quercetin is a gift that comes with gifts.
Rosemary can also suppress allergic responses and nasal congestion. relieve muscle aches and pains, improve cognitive function, and soothe digestive issues. Rosemary also possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, antioxidant, detoxifying, anti-stress, and healing properties.
Sage may be able to improve brain function and memory, can improve concentration, fight free radicals, prevent degenerative diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s, reduce inflammation, prevent or improve diabetes, boost your immune system, improve the health of your skin and strengthen your bones.
Thyme can be used to boost your mood, relieve respiratory conditions like sore throat and bronchitis, lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and fight cancer cells.
Cayenne can be used to support digestion, prevent blood clots, relieve migraine, nerve and joint pain, promote detoxification, improve allergy symptoms and support weight loss.
The key is to use them all and to mix them together for optimal health.
Mix it up, find new foods, and eat them often.
Finally, eat plants several times a day. Add a handful of spinach and onion to your morning eggs.
Add berries (frozen or fresh) to your morning organic oatmeal.
Make colorful salads for lunch. Use fruit as your afternoon snack. Find as many ways as possible to incorporate multiple colors of fruits and veggies in your daily food plan.
Your body will celebrate.
Sources for information Mark Hyman MD, Dr Deanna Minich, How Not to Die, by Michael Greger, MD