I’m a huge fan of adding herbs to soups and other dishes for the additional nutrition and flavor. Herbs add nutrients without adding calories. They also contain phytochemicals that can help reduce the risk of diseases and even help recover from some. One of my favorite additions is cinnamon basil. You can make a delicious pesto made with garlic and olive oil. Another use is as substitute for cinnamon in pumpkin pie. I toss a few crushed leaves in chili for a yummy flavor. I’ve created a tea from cinnamon basil leaves and green or black tea (green tastes yummier) and it’s good for regulating the bowels (handling both constipation and diarrhea) cough, headache and kidney problems.
Real cinnamon has its own benefits.
If you’re starting to see cinnamon too many times, it’s because I really like the flavor. I have fond memories growing up to cinnamon toast for breakfast. Cinnamon can help lower blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity. It’s been shown to lower fasting blood sugar levels in diabetics by as much as 29%. It can also act as a powerful anti-inflammatory and helps to improve cholesterol levels.
Turmeric is another potent anti-inflammatory.
There’s still a lot to learn about the power of herbs on overall health. One reason there aren’t as many studies is because it takes money and you simply can’t patent an herb, so drug companies that often fund these find there’s no money to be made from studying the effects. Turmeric fights inflammation, which is believed to cause everything from cancer to Alzheimer’s and heart disease. Because of that, turmeric reduces your risk for arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer. It’s been found effective to relieve arthritis and may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. Be careful adding it. It stains everything yellow. I actually add it to create the color yellow in chicken soup. It has a mild, yet distinct, flavor.
Adding Cayenne pepper is a hot tip.
There’s a lot to say about the heat from cayenne or chili pepper. It has heat that comes from capsaicin. If that sounds familiar, it’s the same name as the balm for achy muscles and joints. In fact, that’s made from the seeds of hot peppers and aspirin. Capsaicin can help dieters by decreasing their appetite and Feeling nauseous? Try ginger or fennel seeds. Ginger tea is one cure for an upset stomach and munching on a fennel seed is another. Fennel is a gorgeous plant, which is why I grow it, but the seeds are also good, especially in marinara sauce.
- If you have allergies, try rosemary in your food. The Rosmarinus acid in rosemary helps reduce nasal congestion and allergic responses.
- Garlic not only keeps vampires at bay, it keeps colds away, too. Garlic contains allicin, which boosts the immune system, lowers bad cholesterol and also lowers blood pressure.
- Want to boost brain power, try sage. Recent studies show it boosts memory and brain functioning in people of all ages. It’s also thought to help slow the progress of Alzheimer’s.