The Health Benefits of Herbs and Spices

By now, most of us know that the most prevalent spice (actually a mineral) in our diet – salt – is not very good for us, at least not in the quantities that we use it.  While salt does enhance flavor, most of us consume too much of it in our diets.  Cutting back on sodium can help prevent or lower high blood pressure that in turn can reduce your chances for heart disease and stroke.

Health Benefits of Herbs and Spices -

Most of the sodium in your diet comes from processed foods, such as chips, soups, canned beans, and vegetables. The rest of it comes from the salt we sprinkle on at the table and add during cooking.

Health experts advise us to limit the amount of sodium that we consume from all these sources to no more than 1,500 milligrams (mg.) each day—or less than 3/4 of a teaspoon of salt. Yet most of us exceed that recommendation.  Just one fast food meal or meal at a restaurant can easily contain more than 1,000 mg. of sodium.

I work hard to keep most Six O’Clock Scramble recipes below this sodium limit.  Low salt, however, does not have to mean low flavor.  Adding more spices, herbs, and other flavor boosters like lemon and lime to dishes keeps meals exciting and healthy. Did you know that herbs and spices can even boost the nutritional value of our meals?

Herbs and spices, such as oregano, basil, and thyme, contain antioxidants, which can help prevent disease, and a little goes a long way.

For example, 1/2 teaspoon of dried oregano contains the antioxidants of 1/2 cup sweet potatoes!  As you season with spices, you should feel great about the added and concentrated health benefits you are dishing out to your family.

Try adding more spices to your meals with Mexican Almond Shrimp with Chili and Lime or Mumbai Meatballs.

What are your favorite herbs and spices to use?

I’d love to hear about them in the comments!


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