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May 2021

Enhance Flavor and Health with Herbs & Spices

Herbs and spices have been used for centuries to enhance the flavor of food and for medicinal purposes.  Herbs typically are from the leaves of a plant. Spices are from the roots, bark, berries, flower or seeds of the plant. As we age, foods may seem to lose their flavor due to changes in the sense of smell or taste.  Medications may also alter how foods taste. Try adding flavor to your meals with herbs and spices and enjoy the health benefits that they may provide.

Health Benefits of Herbs & Spices
Herbs and spices can do more than boost the flavor of food. They also add color and contain health-promoting substances that have a positive impact on health.

  • Cinnamon - a powerful antioxidant that may help lower blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity.  It can also reduce inflammation and may lower blood triglycerides and cholesterol.
  • Ginger - associated with reducing nausea and aiding digestion.
  • Garlic - it’s numerous health benefits include boosting immune function and helping to reduce cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Rosemary - enhances memory and may reduce allergy symptoms and nasal congestion.
  • Peppermint - peppermint oil may reduce nausea, abdominal bloating and pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Sage - may improve brain function and memory.
  • Turmeric - curcumin is the active ingredient in this spice. It is linked to a variety of health benefits including: the reduction of inflammation, improved brain function and a reduced risk of heart disease and cancer.

Using & Storing Herbs & Spices
Herbs and spices add a variety of flavor to food without adding salt. Keep in mind that dried herbs are not interchangeable with fresh herbs. If you substitute fresh with dried herbs, use 1 part dried to 3-parts fresh.  It is best to start with a little and add more as needed. A little goes a long way!  Here are some common pairings:

Cinnamon - yogurt, oatmeal, and brewed coffee or tea.
Rosemary or Sage - pair with chicken, turkey, lamb or pork, mashed potatoes and butternut squash.
Basil, Cilantro, Oregano, Mint - add fresh leaves to salads.
Sage, Dill or Parsley - enhance the flavor of fish and potatoes.
Ginger - Carrots, poached pear, peaches, applesauce or tea.
Turmeric - vegetable soup, chicken, rice or cooked greens.
Garlic - pasta, green beans, broccoli, and tomato salad.

Store in airtight containers in a cool dark cabinet. The shelf-life is generally 1-2 years depending on type, processing and storage.  Generally, they are safe to consume when past their prime; however, will lose most of their aroma and flavor.


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