Fresh Herbs for Health

Leny Longo, CEC, CCA
Corporate Executive Chef

Fresh herbs not only add flavor and color to dishes, but also may help your health. Herbs contain vitamins and minerals, as well as disease-protecting flavonoids. Basil, parsley and rosemary are particularly nutritious. Fresh herbs are easy to find at farmer’s markets, natural food stores and supermarkets. Enjoy the wellness-boosting benefits of fresh herbs by incorporating them into your diet, here are just a few examples of the benefits of fresh herbs.

Basil, a fresh herb often used in Italian dishes, is a great source of vitamin K and it also contains healthy amounts of iron, calcium and vitamin A, according to many sources. Vitamin K is needed for blood to clot, while iron prevents anemia and calcium promotes strong bones. Fresh basil also has anti-inflammatory properties and its oils may fend off some harmful bacteria.

Parsley is loaded with carotenoids, powerful antioxidants that help protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. In fact, fresh parsley is reported to have almost twice the carotenoid content of carrots and the same amount found in kale and red peppers. Parsley is also high in vitamin K and vitamin C, another antioxidant that also helps wounds heal and aids immunity.

Rosemary has been reported to decrease blood sugar levels. Research demonstrated rosemary limited oxidative damage to retina cells. This suggests the herb may help protect against the oxidative damage associated with macular degeneration. Fresh rosemary may also have cancer-protecting properties and has been shown to help support the immune system.

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