By Toni Lynn Davis MHA, CNHA, FACHCA
President/Executive Director Green Hill Inc.
It is finally spring and we are all about fresh herbs at Green Hill. Residents have fun planting in the herb garden and watching the beautiful plants grow all summer long. We cook our meals with the fruits of our labor.
Fresh herbs not only add flavor and color to dishes, they also help your health. Herbs contain vitamins and minerals, as well as disease-protecting flavonoids. Basil, parsley, rosemary and mint are particularly beneficial. Fresh herbs are easy to find in supermarkets.
My tip for spring is to enjoy the wellness-boosting benefits of fresh herbs by incorporating them into your diet. Here are just a few benefits found in some of our favorite herbs.
Basil is a great source of vitamin K and contains healthy amounts of iron, calcium and vitamin A. Vitamin K is needed for blood to clot, iron prevents anemia and calcium promotes strong bones. Vitamin A helps night vision, among other things. Fresh basil also has anti-inflammatory properties and its oils may fend off some harmful bacteria. Tastes great cooked or raw in salads or with cheese.
Parsley is loaded with carotenoids, powerful antioxidants that help protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Parsley is high in Vitamin K and Vitamin C, another antioxidant that helps wounds heal and aids immunity. It is also a good source of iron and folate, vitamin B. Parsley raw freshens your breath and is a great addition to salads or delicious in soups and stews.
Rosemary has been reported to decrease blood sugar levels. 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. Rosemary makes any room smell fantastic and is a great addition to cooked dishes and meats.
Chewing a leaf of mint will help calm the stomach and alleviate nausea. It is also wonderful in ice tea and lemonade.
If growing your own fresh herbs in a garden, morning is the best time to pick them before the heat of the day sets in.
Visit these websites for more information on gardening and cooking with herbs.