A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Enhance Flavor & Boost Nutrition with Herbs

Anyone trying to cut back on calories but experiencing a loss of flavor should try adding herbs (fresh or dried) to meals. Herbs have plenty to offer in terms of distinct flavors and nutrients for our bodies. Herbs will add zest to a meal without the need for a lot of salt. If you find yourself at a loss when trying to prepare a healthy meal that still has flavor, try some of the herbs listed below.

Basil – Anti-inflammatory, high in magnesium, and high in Vitamin A
Great with tomatoes and mozzarella for an easy caprese salad. Basil pairs well with many foods including eggs, white fish, and basically all types of veggies. It is really good fresh or dried when mixed in a salad. Basil is a token of love in Italy, so it’s always good to have on hand when traveling abroad!

Parsley – Anti-cancer, Antioxidants, Immune system, and high in Vitamins A, C, & K

The curly type is served as a garnish in many dishes, and works as a breath freshener for after the meal. Italian parsley is a versatile herb that is a great addition to poultry, eggs, pasta, rice, potatoes, and all veggies. Try this chicken parsley recipe for a quick and healthy meal.

Oregano – Anti-bacterial, high in antioxidants and Vitamin C

Similar to and interchangeable with marjoram, oregano is known for its use in pasta and pizza sauces. It also goes well with fish, rice, and summer squash dishes. Make some happy taste buds with this pizza recipe, omit the chicken and add veggies for an awesome vegetarian pizza.

Dill – Anti-bacterial and good source of calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium

A member of the parsley family, dill adds robust flavor to many creamy dips. Create a satisfying and healthy Greek dip with this Tzatziki recipe. Dill helps to calm our digestive system by soothing stomach aches and is also said to cure hiccups. Can’t hurt to try some Tzatziki dip next time you get a case of the hiccups!

Thyme – Anti-oxidant, antimicrobial, good source of iron and manganese

Yes, we all wish we had more of it…..to flavor our food that is. Thyme is a great accompaniment to most meat dishes and useful in flavoring stock for soups and stews. Serve this Thyme Roast Pork Tenderloin recipe for a great weekend meal packed with flavor!

Rosemary – Rich in B Vitamins, high in vitamins A &C, and good source of potassium, calcium, and iron

Another herb that make meat marvelous, but vegetables irresistible in this roasted veggie recipe.
This herb dries very well and and is also commonly used in household products for its pleasant aroma.

Cilantro – helps lower blood sugar, remove metals from the body, anti-inflammatory, good source of iron and magnesium

A cool fact on cilantro is that the seeds are what we know as the spice coriander. Cilantro is incredibly popular in Mexican cuisine, and mostly commonly known for its place in salsa and guacamole. Whip up this healthy guacamole recipe with Greek yogurt for your next gathering or just all for yourself!

Next time you are inspired to cook a meal or two, skip the salt and toss in a few of these herbs for a healthy dose of flavor! Also, for something extra in your dish, Just Add Cayenne!

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