This time of year in Minneapolis is cold and flu season. Did you know by just adding a few ingredients to your dish while you are cooking, can keep you healthier all winter long? Adding garlic and herbs to your dishes can produce excellent flavor and benefit your health as well. Garlic is great for the immune system and is a natural form of antibiotics. When purchasing garlic make sure that the heads are dry, with plenty of paper covering. If you can see green shoots coming out of the garlic, steer clear this means the garlic is old and not worth purchasing. Garlic can be used in many ways in your dishes, you can use it raw or cooked, whole, crushed or sliced. However you choose to use it, add garlic for a natural way to boost you immune system during these long, winter months. Spices are a natural form of antioxidants and have many health benefits. Garnish with parsley, coriander, or dill, add them to your dish, as well as being high in antioxidants, spices give your food rich flavor and supply you with beneficial vitamins. A diet high in antioxidants is a great way to maintain a healthy body and a strong immune system. According to the Mayo Clinic, the spices with the highest amount of antioxidants include:
Cloves- cloves have the highest antioxidant content, and have a ton of nutritional benefits as well. This spice can also help guard against joint pain and cancer.
Cinnamon– has great fiber and calcium content and is great for colon and heart health.
Oregano– this spice is packed with nutrients and is a natural form of treating colds, stomach aches, cramps, coughs, and colic.
Thyme– has wonderful nutrients such as Maganese, Calcium, Vitamin K, which helps guard the human body from bacteria.
Sage– is a great spice high in antioxidents, it is also great for improving memory and reducing inflammation.
Rosemary– has great flavor and excellent benefits, high in antioxidents and nutrients, this spice is great for our immune system, circulation, digestion, and can ease the inflammation of arthritis and asthma.
So while you are using a spice to liven up a dish, knowing that on top of adding wonderful flavor, spices have rewarding benefits. So the next time you are cooking, or feeling a little under the weather, add a little extra garlic or oregano to your favorite sauce or rosemary to your meat and potatoes, and not only will you have a tastier dish, you will be healthier too.