Friday, June 29, 2012

Gettin' Herby With It: Top 10 Herbal Benefits


I have my vitamix, it’s near and dear to my heart. Carolyn's appliance equivalent is her aerogarden. Here’s an herby post from her.
A few weeks ago I went to a health conference to nutrition-nerd it up. There was even a guided stretch and movement break. After “flowing through water” together (oy), a speaker/nutritionist was talking the Mediterranean diet. It was the same old research until she mentioned the health benefits of herbs: “half a teaspoon of dried oregano has same antioxidant content as three cups spinach” Obviously herbs make things pretty and flavor - guac without cilantro or tomatoes without basil would be sad. But I had never thought of herbs as a super nutrient dense food. Spices get all the antioxidant love, this was new news to me. A little research when I got home revealed that the“antioxidant comparison” came via the McCormick institute, king of dried herbs, and the speaker has ties to this “royalty”

Since you can’t believe everything you hear when it comes to nutrition, even at nutrition conferences, I thought I’d share my favorite herby facts:
  • Parsley is both a “delicious debloater” and if you chew on it a natural breath mint. 
  • Parsley is also an emmenagogue which means it can bring on your period and should be avoided during pregnancy.
  • Basil contains a compounded called eugenol which is a natural anti inflammatory
  • Cilantro can kill salmonella, it has antibiotic properties so if you have to eat shady food, you may want to grab some cilantro. Lemongrass also has antibacterial properties, good when feeling sick.
  • Carminatives are herbs good for ahen gassiness, fennel is Foodtrainers’ #1 carminative but dill (delicious in salads) is great too. No need to just  “dill” with it.
  • Herbs are great in juices. We adore One Lucky Duck’s swan juice that uses tarragon and spearmint in addition to dandelion, cucumber, yuzu, pear and spinach.
  • You may want to include rosemary in your marinades when grilling this summer. It helps block HCAs (carcinogenic compounds formed when grilling).


I no longer have suburban garden envy I am currently growing basil, parsley and mint (cilantro and stevia were a fail this batch). 
Does nutrition misinformation bother you? Do you have a garden? What are your favorite uses for herbs?
*The winners of the Booty Giveaway are Andrea, Delana E and Michele K. Congratulations, snack well and we'll be contacting you for delivery information.

20 comments:

  1. Great Post, thanks Carolyn! Its always great to learn new, fun, helpful nutrition facts!

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  2. Great information! Thanks for sharing :)

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  3. My periods have never been regular and often when I am stressed out or traveling a lot, I don't get one at all. I do get the PMS though, so in order to bring the period on so I can get over my crabby mood, I drink parsley tea. Just steep a few handfuls of fresh parsley in boiling water until the water is green, drain it and drink. Drink it all day and you will have a period that night, or in the AM. Works every time. This is terrible, but I can't help but think that it might be nature's Plan B.

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  4. "so if you have to eat shady food..." hilarious. neat post, thanks for sharing!

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  5. thanks jessica, there comes a time where we all have to take "bacterial risks" with travel or socializing etc, cilantro is your back up. 

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  6. is it wrong to laugh at "nature's plan B" I juice a whole bunch of parsley to "bring it on" before I have to go away on vacation if iffy. The things we have to think about, right?

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  7. thank you samantha, more than just flavorful, right?

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  8. glad they're new to you Amie.

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  9. Lots of information I'm glad to know. I'll keep the parsley trick in mind, too.

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  10. Can I just say, I have a suburban house with a giant backyard and two black thumbs. I totally have an aerogarden in my kitchen and I love it! I usually have a couple of parsleys, one basil (they are prolific), some dill, mint, maybe chives. Sage doesn't do that well for some reason. I love that when I make pizza I can easily pick off a few pieces of basil and sprinkle it on, or put some chives on my scrambled eggs without buying some for $2 at the supermarket. There are a lot of times that I use herbs now when I previously would have just done without.

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  11. Andrea@WellnessNotesJune 29, 2012 at 11:35 AM

    Thanks for all the herb info! I didn't know most of it!

    I love herbs. They add so much flavor and helped me get "off salt" years ago. I always grow some basil inside. It's my favorite herb. Right now, I'm also growing rosemary, parsley, cilantro, tarragon, and mint. I love how herbs can make the simplest dish special.

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  12. I agree, anyone who things veggies are boring hasn't become close enough with herbs.

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  13. you are making me want an aerogarden, uh oh.

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  14. the breath trick or the bloating, I never know with you Caron.

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  15. That made me laugh! Actually, I was thinking of the period trick. But, um...yea. The breath and bloating. Perhaps I should become one with The Parsley.

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  16. i think i may have already mentioned this on a previous post, but if you simply take mint and add it to water, it is super refreshing. we almost always have a big mason jar of mint water in our fridge during the summer months. in iowa, mint is pretty much considered a weed, it's invasive in a yard/garden.

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  17. "Invasive a weed" I feel so badly for you Devin. Great tip I do this hot, for some dumb reason never thought of chilling mint water. Done.

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  18. I have a herb garden (well, 3 flower boxes, to be precise), and I grow all sorts of stuff - basil (except that it died), parsley, lemon grass, dill, cilantro, mint... I love water with mint and lemon. I also love clipping a handful of everything, chopping it up and then baking it with trout.

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  19. that trout sounds great, is there a recipe? whole fish or filet?

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  20. No, no real recipe. I just take a filet, layer it with thinly sliced onion and thinly sliced lemon (with peel), and then cover the whole thing with a big handful of chopped herbs. Wrap in tinfoil, and then either cook it on the bbq or bake it for 30 mins at 375. We eat this at least twice a week...I never get sick of it.

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