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The World’s Healthiest Herbs and Spices
Fresh basil is a good source of vitamin A. It’s also a good source of magnesium, iron,
potassium, calcium and vitamin C. Basil has anti-inflammatory effects and promotes
cardiovascular health. Basil leaves are tastiest and healthiest when fresh.
Black Pepper
Black pepper has antioxidant and antibacterial properties and improves digestion,
helps prevent intestinal gas, is diaphoretic (promotes sweating), and diuretic. The
outer layer of peppercorns also stimulates the breakdown of fat cells. Black pepper had
good amounts of manganese, vitamin K, iron and dietary fiber.
Cayenne Pepper
An excellent source of vitamin A, Cayenne pepper and Tabasco sauce can increase
metabolism and fat-burning ability by up to 25%! It also contains capsaicin, whose anti
-inflammatory and antioxidant effects may lower the risk of cancer, has pain-reducing
effects and can help prevent ulcers.
Chili Pepper
Red chili peppers are a good source of vitamin A, dietary fiber, vitamin C, potassium
and iron. Just like cayenne pepper, chili peppers contain capsaicin. Red chili peppers
can be found dried and ground or fresh and finely chopped. It has a fiery, hot flavor so
use sparingly.
Cinnamon is an excellent source of manganese and also has dietary fiber, iron, and
calcium. Cinnamon is often used as an antidote for diarrhea and stomach upset as well
as a metabolism booster. The essential oils in cinnamon bark have anti-clotting, antimicrobial, and blood sugar controlling properties.
Cloves are dense with nutrients, known for having an extremely high amount of
manganese and a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin K, dietary fiber, vitamin
C, magnesium and calcium. It also has mild anesthetic, anti-bacterial properties. Add
to sweet dishes or as a contrast in stews and curries.
Coriander is known for being anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory and cholesterol
lowering. Coriander is a good source of dietary fiber, manganese, iron and magnesium.
The leaves of the plant, known as Cilantro, may have anti-microbial and anti-bacterial
Cumin has iron and manganese and promotes healthy immune functions, good digestion and may help prevent some forms of cancer. You can find cumin both ground and
whole. Ground cumin is a tasty spice that easily blends well with many Middle Eastern ,
Latin American and Spanish dishes. It’s also great in soups and stews.
Dill has iron, manganese and calcium. It may help protect against free-radical damage
and has anti-bacterial properties. You can find dill fresh, you can also get dill seeds and
ground dill. Dill is a great addition to dips, soups, salads and sauces.
Fennel bulb is considered a vegetable, but the leaves can be used as an herb. Raw
fennel is a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber, potassium, manganese, folate,
phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and vitamin B3. Its an antioxidant and
has anti-inflammatory properties. It may also help prevent cancer.
Regular consumption of garlic can decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It
also aids in digestion. Recent research shows garlic to be beneficial in the treatment of
diabetes. It also destroys cancer cells and may disrupt the metabolism of tumor cells.
Ginger is a root and has potassium, magnesium, copper, manganese and vitamin B6.
Ginger speeds metabolic rate, plus it inhibits nausea and vomiting often caused by
morning sickness or motion sickness. Ginger can also hinder blood clotting.
Mustard seeds are a stimulant that can be used to relieve respiratory complaints and
has shown anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Mustard seeds have
selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus, manganese, magnesium, dietary fiber,
iron, calcium, protein, vitamin B3, and zinc.
A USDA study found that, gram for gram, oregano has the highest antioxidant activity
of 27 fresh culinary herbs. Oregano is one of the best bacteria killers. Oregano has
vitamin K, manganese, iron, dietary fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, vitamin A, and
vitamin C.
Peppermint is used to treat gastric and digestive disorders as well as tension and
insomnia, and has anti-microbial properties.
Rosemary may stop gene mutations leading to cancer and may help prevent damage to
the blood vessels that raise heart attack risk. Rosemary also contains substances that
are useful for increasing circulation and improving digestion.
Sage is an outstanding memory enhancer. It also has antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties. Sage has dietary fiber, vitamin A, calcium and iron! It’s a
great addition to stuffings and warmer dishes.
Thyme is an excellent source of vitamin K. It also has good amounts of iron,
manganese, calcium and dietary fiber. It’s a wonderful antioxidant and it’s also been
shown to have anti-microbial properties.
Turmeric is an antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals and therefor protects against
cancer. The compounds in turmeric have demonstrated antioxidant, anti-inflammatory
and cholesterol –lowering properties.
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