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6 Healthy Herbs and Spices and How to Use Them

Herbs and spices not only add depth and flavor to your meals but also bring a myriad of health benefits. From antioxidant properties to anti-inflammatory effects, these culinary treasures contribute not only to the taste of your dishes but also to your overall well-being.

Here are six healthy herbs and spices along with creative ways to incorporate them into your daily meals:

1. Turmeric:

Health Benefits: Turmeric contains curcumin, a potent anti-inflammatory compound with antioxidant properties. It's been linked to improved brain function, reduced risk of heart disease, and may have potential anti-cancer properties.

How to Use: Add turmeric to soups, stews, and curries for a warm, earthy flavor. Make a turmeric latte by combining turmeric with warm milk and a touch of honey. You can also sprinkle it on roasted vegetables or blend it into smoothies for an extra health boost.

Global Dishes that Use Turmeric

Many dishes that have turmeric originated in Southeast Asia. These include:

  • Masala Dosa from India

  • Onion Bhaji from India

  • Pastilla from Morocco

  • Samosa from India

  • Tajine Maadnous from Tunisia

  • Tohu Thoke from Burma

  • Amba from Iraq and the Middle East

2. Cinnamon:

Health Benefits: Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. It may help lower blood sugar levels, reduce the risk of heart disease, and combat neurodegenerative diseases.

How to Use: Sprinkle cinnamon on oatmeal, yogurt, or toast for a sweet and aromatic touch. Add it to your morning coffee or tea for a flavorful twist. Cinnamon also pairs well with both sweet and savory dishes, so experiment with adding it to roasted vegetables or braised meats.

Global Dishes that Use Cinnamon

  • Mole from Mexico

  • Atole from Guatemala

  • Khichdi from South Asia

  • Pastitsio from Greece

  • Cincinnati chili from Ohio

  • Harira from Morocco

  • Kai palo from Thailand

  • Kanelglas from Sweden

3. Ginger:

Health Benefits: Ginger is known for its anti-nausea and anti-inflammatory effects. It may help reduce muscle pain and soreness, lower blood sugar levels, and aid digestion.

How to Use: Grate fresh ginger into stir-fries, soups, and marinades for a zesty kick. Make a soothing ginger tea by steeping fresh ginger slices in hot water. Add ginger to smoothies or incorporate it into salad dressings for a burst of flavor.

Global Dishes that Use Ginger

  • Ginger chicken from Indonesia

  • Ginger juice from West Africa

  • Ginger chicken from China

  • Pickled ginger from Japan

  • Jujube ginger tea from Korea

  • Braised belfish from Korea

  • Gingerbread cookies from England

4. Garlic:

Health Benefits: Garlic has antimicrobial and immune-boosting properties. It may help lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels, and support cardiovascular health.

How to Use: Use minced garlic in sauces, soups, and pasta dishes. Roast whole garlic cloves with vegetables or meats for a milder, caramelized flavor. Garlic is a versatile ingredient that enhances the taste of various dishes, so feel free to experiment in your favorite recipes.

5. Rosemary:

Health Benefits: Rosemary is rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. It may improve digestion, enhance memory and concentration, and have potential anti-cancer properties.

How to Use: Use fresh or dried rosemary to season roasted meats, potatoes, and vegetables. Infuse olive oil with rosemary for a flavorful drizzle over salads or bread. Rosemary also adds depth to marinades and homemade bread recipes.

6. Basil:

Health Benefits: Basil is a good source of vitamins A and K, as well as antioxidants. It may have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

How to Use: Use fresh basil in salads, pasta dishes, and sandwiches. Create a classic pesto sauce by blending basil with pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. Add basil to tomato-based sauces, soups, or even to infuse water for a refreshing herbal twist.

Incorporating these herbs and spices into your daily meals not only enhances the flavor of your dishes but also contributes to your overall health. Experiment with different combinations to discover your favorite ways to enjoy these culinary treasures while reaping their numerous health benefits.

Garlic, rosemary, and basil are versatile herbs that are widely used in various global cuisines to enhance the flavor profiles of dishes. Here are some global dishes where these herbs play a prominent role:

1. Italian Pesto Pasta:

  • Ingredients: Basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil.

  • How to Make: Blend fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese in a food processor. Slowly add olive oil to create a smooth pesto sauce. Toss the pesto with cooked pasta for a classic Italian dish.

2. Mediterranean Roasted Lamb:

  • Ingredients: Garlic, rosemary, olive oil.

  • How to Make: Create a marinade using minced garlic, chopped rosemary, and olive oil. Rub the mixture over lamb chops or a leg of lamb and roast until golden brown. This dish is a staple in Mediterranean cuisine.

3. French Ratatouille:

  • Ingredients: Garlic, basil, thyme, rosemary, eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, tomatoes.

  • How to Make: Sauté garlic, basil, thyme, and rosemary in olive oil. Add a variety of vegetables like eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, and tomatoes to create a flavorful ratatouille stew.

4. Greek Tzatziki Sauce:

  • Ingredients: Garlic, dill, yogurt, cucumber.

  • How to Make: Combine minced garlic, fresh dill, grated cucumber, and yogurt to make Tzatziki sauce. This traditional Greek condiment is often served with grilled meats or as a dip.

5. Argentinian Chimichurri Sauce:

  • Ingredients: Garlic, parsley, oregano, red wine vinegar, olive oil.

  • How to Make: Finely chop garlic, parsley, and oregano. Mix with red wine vinegar and olive oil to create a zesty chimichurri sauce. It's commonly used as a marinade for grilled meats in Argentinian cuisine.

6. Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai):

  • Ingredients: Basil, garlic, chili, chicken.

  • How to Make: Sauté minced garlic, fresh basil, and chili in a wok. Add ground chicken and stir-fry until cooked. This Thai dish is served over rice and is known for its aromatic and spicy flavors.

7. Spanish Garlic Shrimp (Gambas al Ajillo):

  • Ingredients: Garlic, olive oil, chili flakes, shrimp.

  • How to Make: Sauté garlic and chili flakes in olive oil, then add shrimp and cook until pink. This Spanish tapas dish highlights the simplicity and bold flavors of garlic.

8. Lebanese Garlic Sauce (Toum):

  • Ingredients: Garlic, vegetable oil, lemon juice.

  • How to Make: Blend garlic with vegetable oil and lemon juice until a creamy, garlic sauce called Toum is formed. It's often served with grilled meats or as a dip in Lebanese cuisine.

These dishes showcase the global appeal of garlic, rosemary, and basil, demonstrating how these herbs can elevate the flavors of diverse cuisines around the world.



I Can Help in Developing A Plan For Self Care

Do you want help developing a self-care plan that works for your own busy schedule? Do you want accountability in implementing a self-care plan? If you or someone you love is struggling to maintain optimal mental and emotional health, consider reaching out to Spiced Life Conversation Art Wellness Studio and Botanica. We are a Metro Atlanta, Conyers Georgia area. We are a coaching and counseling practice with empathetic, skilled counselors and recovery coaches who can help you set goals, develop a self-care routine, and move forward to build a more fulfilling life. Our team would be happy to work with you either just for a couple of sessions to develop and implement a Self-care plan or longer term to work toward overall better mental health within our membership site or other programs.

Dr. Nikki LeToya White

About The Author: Dr. Nikki LeToya White MSEd-TL, Ph.D. RHN is the founder, director, and full-time board-certified trauma-informed nutritionist, folk herbalist, and wellness consultant at Spiced Life Conversation Art Wellness Studio and Botanica. She created Spiced Life Conversation, LLC Art Wellness Studio, and Botanica to provide the Metro Atlanta area with counseling and coaching services where clients are carefully matched with the right program for healing abandonment and childhood emotional neglect trauma that cause codependency, emotional eating, financial stress, and imposter syndrome as it relates to the fear of success and being abandon. We help you begin your emotional healing journey with ease. Recently, we have expanded to include an online membership site so we now provide support to people living all over the world. All of our recovery coaches provide at least one evidence-based treatment to assist in your recovery. Dr. White is a big proponent of self-care and helping people live a fulfilling life! She has been in full remission with both codependency and emotional binge eating disorder since 2016. In living a life in recovery from sugar addiction. I love my low-sugar balanced lifestyle.

Best Regards

Dr. Nikki LeToya White

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