Organic fresh herbs are a rich source of trace minerals in the diet. I am reluctant to use supplements and would much rather gain my nutrition requirements from balanced and healthy meals. For me, herbs have always been a source of flavor, and sometimes used for their healing properties, but until recently I had not considered their potency for vitamins and minerals. To learn more, I talked with a nutrition expert. Read on to learn more about organic fresh herbs!
Organic Fresh Herbs: Quick Takeaways from a Nutrition Expert
Over the years, I’ve completely immersed myself in reading up on nutrition science and the evidence-based facts behind the food that I eat each day. Understanding what I’m putting into my body and the proven impact that food has on my current and future health truly changes my relationship with food (how about you?).
We grow a lot of organic fresh herbs, and over the years, I’ve been able to figure out ways to incorporate them into our meals for added flavor. They’ve become a kitchen staple – basil, thyme, tarragon, parsley and more. However, with all of the nutrition jargon, there is on the internet coupled with some conversations I’ve had with our customers who were curious about the potential health benefits of fresh organic herbs, I wanted to take a second look at the recent research or speak with an expert in order to serve as a reliable educator.
I decided to set up a long chat with one of my team members, who also happens to be a Registered Dietitian (RD), in order to better educate myself on the potential benefits of the organic fresh herbs that we grow at Stony Ridge Farm. Our conversation reinforced the true power of plant-based foods, so I was inspired to share with you some quick facts about what I’ve learned.
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A Few Things to Note:
1) This is a post for educational purposes and a way for me to share my personal experiences, not a post to suggest that you replace any prescribed medications with herbs.
2) Herbs have the potential to interact with prescription medications. While research has supported the potential health benefits of fresh herbs, please always check with your prescribing doctor before beginning to incorporate herbs into your meals (or stopping).
3) Nutrients are best absorbed through whole food sources rather than supplements. While I knew this walking in, this confirmed that there ARE ways to sneak in essential vitamins and minerals into our everyday meals that perhaps may even eliminate the need for a supplement in general (unless prescribed by your doctor, of course).
4) My team member explained that incorporating herbs into a meal is a way to add in flavor without piling on the salt, which may help support heart health in the long-term. So, if you regularly use the salt shaker at the table and your doctor has suggested cutting back, keep reading to see if one of these herbs catches your eye to take its place.
Organic Fresh Herbs: Basil
While there are many different varieties, the bottom line is that about two chopped tablespoons of basil are packed full of different vitamins and minerals.
Vitamin K – Helps with our blood coagulation
Manganese – Bone health
Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Heart health
Calcium – Bone health and supports cardiac muscles
Copper – Bone health, energy production, brain health, collagen production, and more. Apparently, a small amount of Copper is a HUGE daily must-have but that it’s very easy to find in most foods (copper deficiency is rare in the general population).
I also learned about “holy basil.” Although we don’t grow that on the farm, there have been several recent studies concluding that it has antidepressant and antianxiety properties similar to medication…how cool!
Organic Fresh Herbs: Thyme
– Rich in Vitamin K, Vitamin C (good for the immune system, wound healing, and more), Iron (important for our red blood cells), Calcium, and Manganese. It is used in many forms, such as oils, tincture, teas, and extracts.
– Has antifungal and antibacterial properties, making it a great potential bacteria fighter and disinfectant used in some commercial chemical solutions. A2012 study conducted in the UK that showed the extract may help with acne. However, more research may be needed. I thought that this was an interesting and potential natural approach to this seemingly common skin issue.
– Potentially helps with reducing blood pressure and cholesterol, per a 2014 animal study.
Organic Fresh Herbs: Sage
– Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties as it is rich in Rosmarinic acid.
– May help with hot flashes related to menopausal symptoms up to 50% per a 2011 human study.
– Antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties.
– Source of Vitamin A (for protecting eye health ) and Vitamin K.
-As an aside, Sage blossoms are one of my favorite edible flowers.
Organic Fresh Herbs: Marjoram
– Tea may help with insulin sensitivity in women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) what is this? per a 2016 human study.
– One tablespoon provides a small daily source of Iron and Vitamin K.
Organic Fresh Herbs: Tarragon
– Rich source of Vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, and Zinc.
– Some recent studies suggest it may help to lower blood sugar levels.
– Potential pain-relieving properties (specifically with toothaches).
Organic Fresh Herbs: Parsley
– Source of Vitamin A thanks to carotenoids (protect those eyes!) and Vitamin K (blood health).
Organic Fresh Herbs: Cilantro
– Rich in antioxidants and may help to lower cholesterol
Organic Fresh Herbs: Quick Takeaways from a Nutrition Expert
There you have it! I hope you found these potential health benefits of fresh herbs to be interesting. When you pick some up from the farm or farmers’ market and add it to your favorite recipe, tag us on Instagram or Facebook with some pictures (We may even re-post)!
Here are some recommended ways to start an organic herb garden…
There are affiliate links in this post. When you use them to shop, I get a small portion of the sale at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting the farm! 🐓🐐
If you would like a recipe using basil, click here.
Herbs are a good way to start a kitchen garden, click here to learn more.
Here’s another approach to getting your trace minerals from herbs.
Check out this list of vegetables and herbs to plant in July!
Alamgeer , & Akhtar, M. (2014). Pharmacological evaluation of antihypertensive effect of aerial parts of Thymus linearis benth. Acta Pol Pharm.,71(4), 677-687. Retrieved 2017.
Bommer, S., Klein, P., & Suter, A. (2011). First time proof of sage’s tolerability and efficacy in menopausal women with hot flushes. Advances in Therapy,28(6), 490-500. doi:10.1007/s12325-011-0027-z
Bower, A., Marquez, S., & Gonzalez de Mejia, E. (2016). The Health Benefits of Selected Culinary Herbs and Spices Found in the Traditional Mediterranean Diet. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition,56(6), 2728-2746. Retrieved 2017.
Cohen, M. (2014). Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine,5(4), 251. doi:10.4103/0975-9476.146554
The Power and Health Benefits of Parsley (Infographic). (2015, November 09). Retrieved 2017, from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/11/power-health-benefits-parsley-infographic/