Diet & Nutrition

Can adding herbs to your meals save your life?


From easing anxiety to reducing your risk of cancer, herbs may provide more than just a kick of flavour, discovers Jaymie Hooper.

When it comes to foods with benefits, herbs are overachievers.

“Herbs can elevate a meal to the next level, adding a depth of flavour or punch of freshness before serving,” says nutritionist Stephanie Malouf.

“They are also packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and possess a number of beneficial properties,” she adds.

Here are five to try:

Thyme

Perfect for soups, stocks, roasts and breads, thyme is a good source of vitamins A and C, iron, manganese and calcium.

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“It is known for its antibacterial properties, relieving respiratory conditions, helping lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and fighting cancer cells,” Malouf tells Body+Soul.

Holy basil

“Traditional indications have used this herb to help fight the common cold, promote oral health, ease inflammation, anxiety and adrenal fatigue, protect the heart and nourish the skin,” explains Malouf. “You can use it fresh, in supplement form or drink tulsi tea.”

Oregano

Used in pasta sauces, marinades and soups, oregano is a nutrient powerhouse.

“One teaspoon of dried oregano is equivalent to eight percent of your recommended daily vitamin K needs,” notes Malouf.

“Studies have shown it may also reduce inflammation and help fight bacterial, fungal and viral infections,” she adds.

Rosemary

“Known for its ability to help improve memory, promote hair growth, relieve muscle aches and pains, improve cognitive function and soothe digestive issues, rosemary also possesses anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, antioxidant, anti-stress, detoxifying and healing properties,” explains Malouf.

Sage

Sage is packed with vitamins A, C, E and K as well as magnesium, zinc and copper.

“It may help to improve your memory and concentration, prevent degenerative diseases, reduce inflammation, prevent or improve diabetes, boost your immune system, improve skin health and strengthen your bones,” explains Malouf.