Employee Wellness: 7 Benefits of Herbs and Spices
About 45.4% of American adults have high blood pressure which increases their risk for heart disease and stroke. Blood pressure can be lowered by reducing salt in your diet. A low sodium diet is recommended for people with high blood pressure to lower their risk of heart disease. On average, Americans eat more than 3,400 mg of sodium per day. However, the recommendation is less than 2,300 mg per day.
Imagine being on a low sodium diet and no longer being able to season your food with salt. What else could you use to make food tasty? The answer is herbs and spices. These can be used to flavor dishes while providing added health benefits.
7 Flavorful Herbs and Spices with Added Health Benefits
Ginger is widely used in Asian cooking such as in stir fries, soups, and marinades. Ginger contains antioxidants that lower inflammation and it may help to relieve joint and muscle pain.
Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant used in India and Southeast Asia. Turmeric contains curcumin, a compound that gives turmeric medicinal properties. Curcumin has been shown to help decrease inflammation and have antioxidant properties. Turmeric also gives curry its yellow color. Find out how to use turmeric in cooking here.
Rosemary is a Mediterranean herb typically used to flavor meats and fish. Rosemary contains flavonoids shown to lower inflammation and has protective effects for the brain and heart.
Garlic in ancient history is used for its medicinal properties, like fighting infection. But did you know that garlic also causes a significant reduction in blood pressure?
Parsley is a Mediterranean herb used for flavoring in foods. Parsley is full of antioxidant properties that support the immune system and is used for treating high blood pressure.
Fenugreek is common in Indian and Mediterranean cuisine and is a component of garam masala. It smells and tastes like maple syrup. Fenugreek may lower blood sugar and promote heart health.
Cinnamon is a spice commonly associated with desserts, but cinnamon can also be used in savory dishes. Cinnamon has antibacterial and antifungal properties and may lower blood sugar. Check out some savory dishes using cinnamon here.
Herbs and spices are useful to use when cutting back on sodium. Not only do they add aroma and flavor to our foods, they also contain many antioxidant properties that help with our body’s immune system and heart health. It is a better substitute for salt. So be sure to add some herbs and spices on your recipe and grocery list.
Learn more about healthy eating and other wellness programs offered by Wellness Workdays.
Written by: Jaya Sevilla, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern