Cinnamon, thyme, rosemary & oregano are among some common spices to flavor food & contain the highest levels of heart healthy polyphenols. Include them in your eating plan by adding them to common foods, or by incorporating them into recipes.
Move over fruits and vegetables, when it comes to health benefits, herbs and spices are taking over the spotlight. They are a great flavor enhancer, too. Research continues to show more reasons to add herbs and spices to our food.
Herbs & Spices To Flavor Food And Reduce Sodium Intake
Many people think of herbs and spices as a way to flavor food, and that’s true. Herbs and spices not only make food taste better, they do it without adding any calories, sugar, sodium or fat. They’re a great substitute for someone trying to reduce the sodium content of their diet. Spices can be used in place of salt, or in combination with salt, to flavor food.
Herbs and spices do more than flavor food, though. They are packed with some health benefits, too.
Health Benefits Of Spices
Aside from adding loads of flavor to your food, many spices also provide antioxidants. Those are the compounds in food that help protect against harmful free radicals that can destroy healthy cells that negatively affect cell aging. Research is also looking at their potential anti-inflammatory properties, and even their ability to support immune health.
What Spices Boast The Most Benefit?
There are endless herbs and spices that can be used to flavor foods. I could go on and on about them. But, for this post, I’m going to focus on the four that boast the highest level of heart healthy polyphenols. Cinnamon, oregano, thyme and rosemary are among the top of the list.
Easy Ways To Add Common Spices To Your Food
Spices can be incorporated into you eating plan a few ways. You can mix them into your ready-to-eat food, or you can use them in recipes. I love doing both. Here are a few quick and easy ways to start reaping their benefits today.
Add cinnamon to hot chocolate, coffee, oatmeal, smoothies or even sprinkle it on your toast. I use cinnamon in a lot of my recipes, including some spice blends. It’s part of my jerk seasoning spice mix, and I also used it to add flavor to my crunchy homemade energy bars.
When I think of oregano, I instantly think about spaghetti sauce. Pizza is another common food that goes great with oregano. In fact, oregano actually goes with a wide variety of dishes. Try sprinkling it in your morning omelet, or make these crabmeat stuffed mushrooms for your next party or social gathering.
You can rub thyme on chicken breast before cooking, or add it to casseroles or soups. If you want to try a delicious recipe with thyme, check out this fig, caramelized onion and ricotta flatbread recipe I made. It was a big hit!
Incorporating rosemary into a marinade or rub is a simple way to add tons of flavor to the meal. It’s also great added to tomato sauces and soups and sprinkled on potatoes and rice. Combining rosemary with olive oil makes a delicious dipping sauce for bread and rolls, too. Give it a try by making these twice-baked sweet potatoes with rosemary and ricotta.
Do you use any of these common spices to flavor food or do you have a different must-have spice? Share your favorite herb or spice and how to use it in the comments below.