“Herb-ucation”

Guest post by Leah Freund

In my last guest blog, I decided to test my gardening skills and planted vegetable and herb seeds (if you missed that blog, check it out here). About four weeks later, they’re growing slowly but surely! Every pot of seeds has sprouted at least a couple plants, and green beans are winning the race. I have green beans, zucchini, cucumber, tomato, cilantro, dill, parsley, and basil on the way.

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While we’re still waiting for vegetables to pick, let’s take a closer look at why it’s a great idea to “add more plants to your plate.”

It’s a well-documented fact that fruits and vegetables have a very positive effect on one’s health. But what benefits do herbs provide? Every herb has its own useful properties, and I’ll use the herbs I’m growing as examples.

Basil

There are many varieties of basil including large-leaf Italian sweet, tiny-leaf bush, thai, lemon, and African blue. Basil contains antioxidants, flavonoids that protect cells from damage, and oils that have antibacterial properties. It is also used in numerous remedies including treating sore gums, earaches, hair loss, and indigestion.

Cilantro

Cilantro (coriander) is considered an herb and a spice because both the leaves and seeds are used. It has a number of compounds that are helpful in fighting cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. It also contains iron, magnesium, and manganese. Iranian folk medicine uses cilantro to help anxiety and insomnia.

Parsley

The two most common forms of parsley are flat and curly leaf. Curly leaf is frequently used as a garnish, but that’s not all parsley does! It contains Vitamin C, iodine, iron, and other minerals. There are also a number of components that are considered cancer preventatives.

Next time you’re cooking, think about your ingredients and the benefits they provide. Even little guys like herbs can have a big impact!

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