Benefits of Healthy Herbs and Spices

October 29, 2010 in Fruits & Veggies Tips, Health Tips by Jen

Spices and herbs accomplish much more than just making your food taste better. Bet you didn’t know that many of the spices and herbs you use while cooking are actually helping to improve your health. Some do more for your health than even fruits and vegetables. Of course, they need to be ingested regularly to be effective.

Herbs come from plants or plant parts. Spices come from seeds, berries, bark or the roots of plants. Spices and herbs help in a wide range of ways from anti-aging effects to inhibiting degenerative diseases. They are most effective when ingested daily. Here are five common spices and herbs and how they help make you healthy. We’re sure you can find most of them right in your spice cabinet.

Cinnamon can help lower blood sugar, triglycerides and cholesterol. It has insulin-like qualities through 3 keys proteins found in cinnamon. It is also an anti-microbial and can help stop the growth of bacteria, fungi and yeast. Other properties include anti-clotting and anti-inflammatory. Cinnamon is also a rich source of antioxidants, which can help reduce damage from free radicals. Using ¼ to ½ tsp. twice a day in your meals is a good way to initiate the healthful effects of cinnamon.

Ginger is a good aid in battling nausea, vomiting, morning sickness, and motion sickness. Sometimes, it can work twice as better than the popular drug Dramamine. It is also a digestive aid. It can help fight against heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and arthritis through its anti-inflammatory effects. Ginger can also hinder blood clotting so it is important to regulate the ingestion of ginger before going into surgery or when on blood thinners. Consult a doctor to ensure proper use.

Garlic has been researched to help destroy cancer cells and may even disrupt the metabolism of tumor cells. It can also help increase blood flow. It is recommended to eat 1 -2 cloves of garlic weekly in your meals or by itself for these health benefits.

Oregano is great to add to any tomato-based food. It has antibacterial properties. It can kill unfriendly bacteria in the intestinal tract without damaging friendly bacteria. Out of the 27 culinary herbs, oregano has the highest antioxidant activity. Its antioxidant activity is 4 times greater than that of blueberries. Keep in mind that blueberries have been found to have the highest antioxidant activity of all fruits.

Fennel has many health benefits. It can calm bowel distress and combat water retention. Fennel is also good for nursing mothers. It supports milk production while breast-feeding.

There are many more spices and herbs that are extremely beneficial to your health and the health of your family. It is important to research the spice or herb that is most helpful for your health and figure out ways to incorporate them into your daily diet.

Photo Credit: Michelle Meiklejohn /
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