While getting the proper intake of fruits, veggies, lean proteins, and healthy fats is essential to a healthy diet, you may be missing one key component — fresh herbs. Though you may only buy your herbs for special occasion dishes or when you’re entertaining guests, consider putting away the dried parsley flakes and reaching for a few snips of fresh herbs for everyday use. Though adding that sprinkle of basil over the top of your pasta dish or chives onto your salmon dish may not seem like a boost to your health, you may be surprised to find that, like other greens, herbs can help ward away cancer, protect your heart, improve brain function, and fight infection. Here are seven of the best herbs for your health.
Though sage may not be in your usual repertoire of herbs to include in your meals, it pairs excellently with turkey and chicken dishes and with herb stuffing, making it a staple right around Thanksgiving. While it was originally known for its healing properties and its aid in plague prevention in the 1500s, Authority Nutrition explains how studies are currently showing that sage may aid in proper brain function and memory.
This may be especially useful for those suffering from Alzheimer’s — in a four-month study outlined within the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, a fixed dosage of sage extract (60 drops per day) was shown to significantly improve brain function in those with Alzheimer’s disease.
Peppermint isn’t just the flavor of your holiday candy canes anymore — drinking peppermint tea or adding mint leaves into pesto dishes, salads, and couscous is the perfect way to reap the health benefits that this small plant has to offer. There’s a reason that peppermint tea is consumed worldwide and is considered to be one of the most beneficial teas to sip on. The Global Healing Center explains that when steeped in hot water, just a single tea bag of peppermint leaves offers antioxidants that can help prevent illness and chronic disease.
Peppermint can also help with irritable bowel syndrome, as it supports digestion by increasing bile flow and assisting in the break down of fats. This also means that it helps support proper liver function, as it can help reduce the bad cholesterol that can slow the liver down. If you’re feeling nauseous, forget the OTC medicines and try reaching for some peppermint instead, as it can help relieve gas, indigestion, and vomiting.