Kick Up the Taste with Herbs!

Basil and Dill

Today is the start of National Herb Week!  This week was created in 1991 by the International Herb Association, with the purpose of drawing special attention to herbs.  It is the perfect time to celebrate all the wonderful herbs that can be used to turn your meals into flavorful and delicious creations.


Herbs can be used as a salt replacement to help you decrease your sodium intake without losing all the flavor.  You can also experiment with tons of different herbs to see what you like and add more zest to your meals!


Herbs, Herbs and More Herbs


Herbs are obtained from the leaves of non-woody plants, known as herbaceous plants.  They generally add savory flavor to dishes, but they also provide many health benefits.  Some herbs have antibacterial and antiviral properties and can boost your immune system.  Here are 5 common herbs used for seasoning:


1. Basil:

  • Contains beta-carotene, a type of antioxidant, magnesium, and vitamin K, which all aid in keeping your heart healthy.
  • Has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
  • Pairs well with white meats, tomato and mozzarella, and Asian stir-fries.


2. Dill:

  • Great source of vitamin A, calcium, iron and magnesium, and its oil contains compounds that help protect your body from cancer.
  • Has anti-bacterial benefits, which is why it can be used as a preservative in some foods (like pickles).
  • Pairs well with salmon, carrots, cucumbers, potatoes, and mixed into yogurt as a vegetable dip.


3. Cilantro:

  • Good source of vitamin K, which plays a role in blood clotting and keeping your bones healthy.
  • Contains powerful phytonutrients that can protect your cells from damage.
  • Pairs well with Mexican sides, such as guacamole or salsa, Thai or Indian curries, or used in marinade along with lemon or lime juice.


4.  Rosemary:

  • Great source of vitamin A, which helps protect your eyesight and skin.
  • Has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain, increasing your ability to concentrate.
  • Pairs well with omelets, chicken, lamb, tomato sauce, and stews.


5. Parsley:

  • Contains vitamins K, C, A and folate, which all function together to protect your heart.
  • May protect against rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Pairs well with most pasta dishes, fish, chicken, and potatoes.


With herbs, fresh is definitely the way to go if you can!  If you can’t, dried herbs will work as well.  The general rule of thumb is to use 1/3 the amount of dried herbs than fresh.  Example: 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil is equal to 1 teaspoon of dried basil.


Your Turn to Take Action:  Which herbs will you add to your meals this week?  Let me know in the comments below!


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