The Health Benefits of Mediterranean Herbs and Spices
You may have thought that the oregano and basil in your spaghetti sauce just provided a distinct Italian or Mediterranean flavor, but those little herbs are plants, which means they have all sorts of health benefits that can make a big impact on your overall health.
Simple seasonings such as ginger and oregano contain phytochemicals, which are natural health-promoting substances that have been found to protect against conditions such as cancer and heart disease.
You may be surprised to hear that herbs and spices are also loaded with healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which help decrease inflammation in the body. Check out some of the specific health benefits of commonly used herbs and spices:
Basil is shown to have anti-inflammatory effects and may be useful for people with chronic inflammation, such as arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease. Basil also protects against bacteria. and is an excellent source of vitamin A, which helps reduce damage to the body from free radicals.
Cinnamon helps people better control their blood sugars because it slows digestion and, therefore, the rise of blood sugar. Not to mention that it’s a wonderful flavor for baking or in a cup of tea!
Oregano is a nutrient-dense spice containing fiber, iron, manganese, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and omega-3 fatty acids. It’s shown to have antibacterial and antioxidant properties.
Parsley is a rich source of the antioxidants vitamin A and vitamin C, providing protection from heart disease and cancer. And you thought eating your parsley garnish was silly.
Turmeric acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, helping protect against arthritis, heart disease, and certain cancers.