Looking to boost your overall health? While exercise is certainly crucial, you cannot discount the role that diet plays. It’s also smart to understand that we’re talking about diet in the classical sense, not in the sense of a short-term, quick-fix, weight loss plan. Your diet is nothing more or less than what you eat every day of your life. Avoiding ultra-processed foods in your diet is vital, but it is just as important that you add in microgreens and herbs to support your health goals. We’ve combed through all the research to help identify five of the most important herbs for your health, all of which can be easily added to your daily diet.
Ok, so licorice is one of those “love it or hate it” herbs. If you’re old enough, the word “licorice” probably conjures up images of a certain type of chewing gum, or maybe you think of jelly beans. Licorice root is regularly used as a sweetener today, but it has also been used for its medicinal properties for hundreds of years. This root has been linked to a wide range of important health benefits, including:
Soothing upset stomach
Improving respiratory health
Treating eczema when applied topically
Stress reduction by manipulating the level of cortisol in the body
Potentially useful in treating breast cancer and prostate cancer
Licorice root is one of those plants you’ll want to add to your daily regimen in small doses. You also won’t want to slice up a chunk of root to add to your house salad, either. While you can certainly grow this herb plant in a garden or hydroponics setup, it is best taken as an essential oil, as a powder, or dried and used to make a tea. Note that taking too much licorice root is not smart, and can lead to unwanted side effects, such as muscle weakness, high blood pressure, and even irregular heartbeat. Ideally, you’ll use less than 75 milligrams per day.
Who doesn’t love the tang of a dill pickle? Dill has been used since the dawn of time for many different purposes, not just for making pickles. We don’t recommend dill microgreens, though – the most potent part of the plant is the flower, and microgreens are simply too immature to produce flowers. So, you’ll want to use the mature plant. The good news is that dill is very easy to grow at home. Simply harvesting the flowerheads will also extend your growing season. In a pinch, the fronds can also be used, though. (Smart hint: the fronds are all that grocery stores sell – save money and enjoy more flavor by growing your own). Dill offers a host of important health benefits, including:
Treating colds and fevers
Improving outcomes for diabetics
Treating urinary tract disorders
To use dill, simply add it to your favorite dishes, including salads. You can also dry it for use as a sachet. Few side effects have been reported involving dill.
Thyme is another of those perennial kitchen herbs that does more than just flavor your food. It’s also good for your health. Thyme is very high in vitamin C, but also includes other nutrients essential for your body. It can be added to your diet as microgreens, or grown to maturity and harvested slowly over time. Thyme has been linked to many health benefits, including:
Blood pressure control
Immune system support
Acne treatment when used as a tincture
The most common way to use thyme is to simply add it to your favorite dishes. It goes well with everything from steak to chicken, and also plays a role in seasoning your favorite soups and stews. You can also dry it and use it as a sachet, but essential oil can also be purchased (or made).
More commonly referred to as cilantro in the United States, coriander is the name for both the plant and the dried seeds of this popular herb. Coriander imparts a distinctive taste and aroma to dishes, as well as a hint of heat. However, when grown as microgreens and even when eaten mature, this plant can offer some important health benefits, including:
Improved breast milk production
Lower blood sugar
Joint pain relief
Coriander can be used in many ways. The seeds can be ground and added to dishes. The leaves and stems can be eaten in almost any type of food, from tacos to salads. You can also use essential oil.
Basil has been used in culinary traditions for thousands of years, but this herb is also an important health booster that can easily be added to your daily diet. Basil is robust and can be easily grown in the average kitchen garden setup, too. Some of the health benefits linked to basil include:
Reduced memory loss
Improved mental cognition
Improving fasting blood sugar
Control over diabetes
Basil can be added to a wide range of dishes – a couple of leaves can impart a lot of flavor. It can also be used in sachets, and essential oils are also available.
Another time-tested meal ingredient, oregano is heavily used in many cultural dishes. However, this herb is also a powerful tool to improve your health thanks to high levels of antioxidants and essential nutrients, such as vitamin K. Oregano has been linked to some important health benefits, including:
Combatting bacteria and viruses
Potential anti-cancer properties
Oregano is one of the simplest herb plants on our list to use. It can be added to almost any dish for improved flavor. It can be grown and harvested as microgreens (for a more delicate flavor). Oregano essential oil can also be purchased.
The five herbs above offer the key to better tasting dishes, but also improved health outcomes. Add them to your diet today, whether as microgreens or as mature plants (for stronger flavor). Of course, you can also dry them or purchase essential oils if you’d rather not eat them.