Fresh Herb Challenge!

Add at LEAST 1 fresh herb to your day, every day this week…are you in?

We all know herbs have many beneficial properties. But how many of you actually use them daily?

Today we find fresh herbs are available all year round at our local market. How about you make an active effort to use them?

Here are a few things to keep in mind about fresh herbs.

• Get your antioxidants from fresh thyme. Sprinkle fresh thyme on salmon or chicken that’s headed for the grill: Among fresh herbs, thyme has the second-highest amount of antioxidants (sage has slightly more), according to its oxygen radical absorbance capacity-a measure of a food’s ability to fight off disease-causing free radicals in our body. Powerful antioxidants protect your skin from harmful UV rays, inflammation, and premature aging. Thyme is also a very good source of vitamins A and C, as well as iron and dietary fiber.

• Fight inflammation with oregano. Cut it into salads or meat marine. Research in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed that when mice with inflamed paws were treated with oregano’s active ingredient-beta-caryophyllin (E-BCP)-the swelling subsided in 70 percent of cases. E-BCP links to structures in a cell’s membrane, inhibiting the production of substances that signal inflammation.

• Soothe your colon with peppermint. Great in green salads or infused in water with cucumber. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects up to 20 percent of Canadians and many more women than men. Last year, scientists at the University of Adelaide in Australia showed how peppermint helps to relieve IBS by activating an anti-pain channel in the colon. It reduced pain-sensing fibers, particularly those activated by eating chili and mustard.

• Prevent breast cancer with parsley. Toss parsley into salads for its high levels of apigenin. A study in Cancer Prevention Research showed that when rats with a certain type of breast cancer were exposed to apigenin, they developed fewer tumors and had delays in tumor formation compared to rats not exposed. Apigenin blocked the creation of new blood vessels required for tumors to grow and multiply.

• Boost brainpower with rosemary. Very versatile with fruits, veggies or meats. Here’s a great reason to keep a pot of fragrant rosemary in your kitchen: Recently, scientists at the Brain, Performance and Nutrition Research Centre in the U.K. reported that having higher blood levels of one of this herb’s main chemical compounds, absorbed from its aroma, was linked to the speed and accuracy of study participants’ cognitive performance. The higher the level of the compound in the blood, the better the outcome.

(Courtesy of Best Health Magazine, Canada)

Your challenge this week is to add at LEAST 1 fresh herb to your day.

Will you be joining me in this challenge?
Let me know in a comment below! Even better, what herb and what did you use it with?