It’s often the sum of our small choices and daily habits that do the most for our health. Something as simple as the herbs we use while cooking and preparing meals can make a significant difference for your health.
The three spices we're talking about today — coriander (cilantro), oregano, and parsley — are things you should be using on a regular basis. These go well with just about any cooked dish including vegetables, salads, smoothies, grain dishes, and of course the occasional fish or meat dish. Let’s take a closer look at these three awesome herbs.
Coriander (also known as cilantro) is a member of the same botanical family as parsley. It has great medicinal actions as well as nutritional properties. Studies show that the health properties of this herb may include:
- Lowers blood sugar
- Lowers cholesterol
- Relieves anxiety
- Pain relief
- Effective in asthma and inflammation of the bronchioles
- Natural Food Preservative
- Antidepressant effects
- Protects the brain and liver
- Protects the skin
- Relieves migraines
Cilantro is one of the most popularly used spices by chefs worldwide, and its medicinal values have been recognized since ancient times. The major component in cilantro is calledlinalool, which has strong antioxidant properties. These antioxidant properties are known to work well against degenerative diseases of the brain and body, and especially withmetabolic syndrome.
Incorporating cilantro into the meals helps ingest its antioxidant power, making it a functional food that can promote wellbeing.
One of the properties that natural healing practitioners love to share with their patients is the ability cilantro has to remove mercury from the body. Not only does it help detoxify the body of this heavy metal, it also removes mercury from water.
Cilantro also accelerates the excretion of lead from the body through the urine. The Heart Disease Research Foundation in New York reported that Chinese parsley tablets given to patients who were being treated with doxycycline for chlamydia or herpes viruses, sped up the process of removal of the infections and clinical symptoms as well as the heavy metals.
Cilantro can be diced up finely and sprinkled on top of every salad you eat, and adds a great tang to many recipes. Added to fresh tomatoes for salsa, you can use a lot more of it — up to a whole cup for added healthy flavor. You could also use a whole bunch in a juiced drink. Try it with carrots, apples and spinach.
Spices such as oregano are used to enhance the flavor, aroma, and color of food and beverages, but they have other great health effects in the body too. Some of these effects can include:
- Reduction of blood sugar levels
- Reduction of cholesterol
Here’s a good reason to start adding oregano to your food: in one study, the spice extracts tested — oregano, rosemary, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, black pepper, and ginger — all demonstrated the capability to enhance growth of the most important probiotic species' in the GI tract,Bifidobacterium andLactobacilllus. Anything that is good for you and encourages the growth ofprobiotics is a good thing to add to your diet.
The frequent consumption of spicy foods with oregano has been previously linked to a lower risk of cancer and heart disease, and lung/respiratory system diseases.
Oregano is also helpful for those who have a tendency to form kidney stones. Kidney stones can be created by different bacteria, which form these stones by producing biofilms. But oregano essential oil, when screened for its activity against the biofilms that contribute to kidney stones, was found to be very active against them.
Oregano may also be beneficial for diabetics. Egyptian scientists gave an extract of oregano and chamomile together to rats that were diabetic and found that those receiving the herbs experienced effects on their insulin and blood sugar levels that were similar to the current effects of drugs used to treat diabetic complications.
It’s easy to flavor your food with oregano and then drink a cup of chamomile tea with the meal if you have diabetes. This way you can get your herbs in for the day!
Parsley has been used in many ways in different cultures. You may be surprised to find out some of its uses and benefits, which include:
- Helps those with heart disease and high blood pressure
- Helps stop inflammation of the ear
- Works against sniffles
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Helps with PMS issues and irregular menstrual cycles
- Helps with GI disorders
- Cleanses the urinary tract
- Soothes the GI system
- Protection for the brain, liver, GI tract, and cells
- Anti-diabetic effects
- Decreases spasms
- Antioxidant effects
Parsley contains phenolic compounds and flavonoids and its essential oil mainly contains myristicin and apiol as well as coumarins for the active medicinal compounds.
If you or a family member is prone to kidney stones, parsley is the medicinal plant used to help dissolve them.
Parsley also helps fight cadmium toxicity. Cadmium is a heavy metal that causes behavioral changes. Even in low doses, scientists showed that parsley reduced the behavior changes attributed to high levels of cadmium, helped restore the level of neurotransmitters, normalized free radical production and mitigated brain neuron damage.
Stress can cause injury to the GI tract. Because parsley contains flavonoids, carotenoids and ascorbic acid, scientists study it to help with stress-induced GI damage. Results have shown that parsley helped reduce the injury to the GI tract significantly.
Parsley is great to cook with, but besides adding chopped parsley into vegetable dishes, you can also juice parsley. You can add it to just about anyvegetable juice for a fresh flavor.
And always remember, no meal plan and diet is perfect and can fill in every missing vitamin and mineral we are needing in our modern lifestyle. Therefore taking ahigh quality multivitamin that has the right amounts of bioavailable nutrients is always a great idea to supplement all the hard work we do in trying to eat well. Smarter Nutrition’sdaily multivitamins for both men and women is the perfect addition to meals with or without the fresh herbs we put in them, so make it a daily and consistent habit to take your multi!