Senior Health

Do you have an entire drawer of spices – or a fresh bunch in your fridge – but no idea how to use them? Not only are herbs and spices a low-calorie way to add zest to your meal, but they also have a slew of potential health benefits. Try these 10 easy-to-use herbs and spices in your upcoming meals.

Basil

Health benefits: Basil has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial characteristics. It also contains some magnesium.

How to use it: This popular Italian seasoning is best used fresh. It’s great in pesto, on white meats, combined with fruit (such as raspberries and strawberries) or added to stir-fries. Just remember to add it at the end — cooking it ruins the flavor.

Cayenne Pepper

Health benefits: Cayenne may work as a natural pain reliever. It also contains vitamin A and may help reduce cholesterol.

How to use it: Sparingly. Its hot and spicy flavor is great in vinegar-based sauces, can be combined with lemons in marinades, and works well with all types of meat.

Dill

Health benefits: Dill contains iron and calcium. Its oils may help neutralize carcinogens.

How to use it: This aromatic herb is best with salmon, added to borscht or other stews, sprinkled on a variety of vegetables (especially carrots and cucumbers) and even mixed with yogurt.

Cilantro

Health benefits: Fresh cilantro’s green leaves pack disease-fighting phytonutrients, as well as vitamins A and K.

How to use it: From the same plant as coriander seeds, cilantro shines in salsa and guacamole and combines well with lemon and lime for marinades.

Coriander Seeds

Health benefits: Coriander may help control blood sugar, cholesterol and free radical production.

How to use it: Ground coriander seeds are great added to soups, fish dishes and smoked meats, like turkey. Coriander blends well with cumin.

Rosemary

Health benefits: Rosemary contains some fiber, iron and calcium. It may also increase circulation and improve digestion.

How to use it: Its woodsy flavor works well with roasted chicken, pork and salmon or mixed into sauces for a more subtle taste. It also complements tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms.

Sage

Health benefits: Sage contains acids that function as antioxidants. And the term “wise sage” may have some truth – research suggests it may be a memory enhancer.

How to use it: Sage is great with sweet fruits and veggies, like apples and squash, but it also adds a punch to sausage and a variety of cheeses. This powerful herb’s flavor holds up well when cooked for long periods of time.

Thyme

Health benefits: One teaspoon of dried thyme contain about 10% Daily Value of vitamin K, an important nutrient for strong bones.

How to use it: Add it to bean, egg and veggie dishes. If you’re a meat-lover, try it with lamb. It blends well with bay seasoning and parsley.

Turmeric

Health benefits: Turmeric is a good source of manganese and also contains some iron. It may also provide relief for arthritis.

How to use it: This colorful spice is most commonly used in curries, but it also adds flavor to many other dishes, including stir-fried veggies, rice and golden milk.

Parsley

Health benefits: Parsley contains vitamins K, C and A, and heart-healthy folate.

How to use it: These versatile herbs are best fresh. Try in pasta dishes, sprinkled on fish and chicken, or added to potatoes.


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