Keeping a pot of fresh living herbs in the kitchen or a pack in the fridge can encourage you to use their natural flavours, helping to reduce the need for salt. Fresh herbs will perk up your dish creating wonderful tasty meals that are healthier for you.
Many herbs are also known to be rich in antioxidant compounds. Antioxidants are compounds which are able to neutralise free radicals which cause oxidation in the body and are implicated in conditions such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. A paper published in the Journal of Nutrition1 demonstrated that many common herbs contain very high concentrations of antioxidants and that within a normal diet, the intake of herbs may contribute significantly to the total intake of plant antioxidants.
Fiona Hunter on herbs & health
Although the medicinal properties have been acknowledged by our ancestors for hundreds of years, it is only recently that scientists have started to identify components like antioxidants and phytochemicals which are responsible for these health benefits. Whilst we still have much to learn about the role that herbs can play in helping to prevent and even treat certain diseases and medical conditions, we do know from a culinary perspective they have lots to offer. Having fresh herbs in the kitchen means you have a healthy and convenient ingredient at arm’s reach. So next time you reach for that salt, why not pick up your favourite fresh herb instead.
A highly respected, experienced and qualified nutritionist, food writer and broadcaster, Fiona is known for her honest and practical, evidence-based approach to nutrition.