5 culinary herbs you should add to your diet

People nowadays, are facing major health issues because of inadequate nutritional values in their food intake. Even the slightest deficiency or excess of some important elements in our body, like potassium, sodium etc., can lead to dangerously fatal disorders. Therefore, it’s very important to make sure your family has a proper nutritional diet. Keeping this under consideration, it is advised to eat all kinds of meat as well, along with vegetables & fruits, unless you’ve been advised, otherwise, by your doctor.

Before I start though, here’s a general question: What’s the best thing about herbs/leaves? Minimum calories, is the answer. If you’ve decided to lose some weight, the best idea is to add more leaves to your food instead of starving yourself. Choose from the following:

  • Arugula (Rocket, Rucola)
                       Salad of Arugula Leaves                                                    (www.health.com)

Arugula is commonly known as qulfa in our language. It’s a highly under-rated, Mediterranean herb. It has an acidic taste and a strong fragrance and is usually used in salads. But in some desi families, it is cooked along with potatoes, lentils etc. and eaten with bread.

Benefits:

Arugula has shown to have lowered blood pressure levels and increased athletic activities.

Scientifically it has been proven that people who consume this vegetable have lower risk of cancer, mainly of colon, & lung. The bitter taste of these vegetables is due to the presence of cancer fighting compounds in Arugula leaves.

Arugula is rich in Calcium and thus helps in preventing osteoporosis.

It also helps in decreasing the glucose levels, thus very beneficial for Diabetic patients.

Tips to increase Arugula intake: 

Add Arugula leaves in different pasta to give it a strong taste along with minimal spices. It can also be added to pizza.

Add a handful of Arugula leaves to your omelette, sandwiches or even cooked bread.

You can also sprinkle Arugula leaves in your juices or smoothies.

  • Parsley
parsley
                   Making Parsley Tea (www.teamajesty.com)

Parsley goes by many names in Urdu, mainly dhaniya and ajmooda. Prasley also has a slightly bitter taste and is often as a garnish to bring freshness to delicacies. This vegetable is rich in Vitamin K, A, C, Iron and Folate and is very much unappreciated despite being highly nutritious. It is advised to use fresh parsley instead of dried parsley because it has a stronger flavor.

Benefits:

Being rich in Vitamin C, it is helpful in preventing the progression of asthma, colon cancer and diabetes.

It is also helpful in the prevention of rheumatoid arthritis & osteoarthritis.

Parsley leaves can be used to avoid heart attack and stroke.

Tips to increase Parsley intake:

Parsley leaves can be added to salads, lentils or any other cooked vegetable or meat.

You can add Parsley to your pasta for an enriched flavor.

Parsley can also be added to omelettes, soups and herbal tea.

  • Lettuce
lettuce
      Lettuce leaves (www.mynortherngarden.com)

Lettuce is known as salad patta in Urdu. So basically, it is used in salads. Lettuce has a succulent, juicy taste and has quite a few varieties, the most common being Romaine. Lettuce has been appreciated since ages and guess what? Chinese people consider lettuce gives good luck so they consume it on special occasions!

Benefits:

Lettuce contains compounds which have relaxing properties. Thus, it is a perfect vegetable for insomniacs.

It helps preventing the production of cholesterol & plaque.

This is one of the best vegetables for the people who are trying to lose weight.

Tips to increase lettuce intake:

People use lettuce leaves in smoothies and desserts.

Lettuce leaves are perfect complements for cheese, mayonnaise, oil, peppers, onions, eggs & vinegar. Now let your imagination explode and make something delicious!

  • Basil (Saint Joseph’s Wort)
basil
                Basil leaves (www.almanac.com)

Basil is more often known as tulsi or niaaz boo. Basil is a key ingredient in Italian cuisines, typically pesto sauce. Jews believe basil gives strength to them when they are fasting. It is known as a royal herb by the French. Basil has medicinal uses. It is of various types, most common being sweet basil which is used in Italian cuisines. the other types are lemon and  lime basil, which are rich in citrus fragrance.

Benefits:

Basil has the ability to reduce swelling and inflammation.

It is a stress reliever and a great ingredient for anxiety patients. (WOW!)

Women use basil water for beauty purposes, like the removal of blemishes on their skin. Also, dear ladies, it is a beneficial ingredient during THAT time of the month. It helps fighting bloat.

Tips to increase Basil intake:

To relieve stress on a hot, tiresome day, add a few leaves to your tea, either green or iced.

Who doesn’t like sauces and pasta? Make your favorite pesto sauce with basil leaves and eat it with pasta.

You can add basil leaves to your soups, salads and stir-fried vegetables to experience an extraordinary flavor.

  • Mint (Mentha)
Mint leaves (www.greensmoothiecommunity.com
 Mint leaves (www.greensmoothiecommunity.com

Mint is commonly called podeena. Mint is one of the most commonly used leaves, not only in cuisines but in various market products such as toothpastes, soaps, air fresheners and even candies. It is rich in anti-oxidants. Mint has a cooling taste, which itself is a mystery (how can “cool” be a taste?!) It is fresh green in color and has a strong aroma. It has multiple varieties including spearmint and peppermint. Mint has excellent medicinal properties.

Benefits: 

Mint has compounds that can combat seasonal allergies like inflammation, cold etc.

It is a valuable appetizer and helps in digestion.

Some people suffer from severe bouts of nausea and headaches. Mint is a great remedy for these ailments.

Mint oil is great for skin, specially breast feeding women.

Peppermint chewing gums are very common and it has been shown in studies that people who chew these gums have higher cognitive abilities. (Keep it going!)

Tips to increase Mint intake:

To get the best out of these leaves, it is advised to use them raw or uncooked and should be added to the dishes at the very end.

Mint leaves can be added to cooked vegetables, soups and meat.

Mint can be used in tea or smoothies along with honey and lemon juice.

If you’re just in a mood to laze around, you can simply chuck in a few leaves to the water you’re about to drink.

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