10+ Ways Herbs Boost Your Health (and How to Grow Them)
We all know how important it is to include plants in our diet. Plants provide us with vitamins, minerals, and health-promoting phytonutrients.
In fact, most primates could exist solely on plants. Did you know that an Ape's main calorie source is from fruit, leaves, flowers, stems, seeds, and bamboo shoots? (They do eat some insects and small birds as well.)
While humans could exist on meat alone, they would be missing certain nutrients like Vitamin C, and phytonutrients like antioxidants which are only found in plants. For optimal health, it's important to incorporate diverse food sources to ensure you're meeting all of your nutritional needs.
And when it comes to nutrient-dense options, herbs top the list! Herbs are small but mighty, and radically underappreciated. In this post, you're going to learn how you can include more of these powerhouses into your diet in a quick, easy, and inexpensive way.
Nutritional Value of Herbs
The nutritional value of herbs can not be overstated. Though small, herbs are quite potent which means only small amounts are needed for culinary purposes. As such, they are not typically given much nutritional consideration. Because of their potency, however, even small amounts will provide trace doses of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Depending on the soil characteristics, most herbs will contain minerals like copper, manganese, magnesium, iron, zinc, and selenium.
The antioxidant benefits of herbs are endless. Herbs like rosemary and lemon balm contain rosmarinic acid which helps protect cells against free radicals, as well as increase the brain's calming neurotransmitter GABA. Herbs in the mentha (mint) family have shown strong antioxidant capacity due to its content of phenolic and carotenoid compounds. Tea leaves themselves contain numerous phytonutrients that support almost every system of the body. Take the popular blends 'Blueberry Time Machine' and 'Coconut Warrior' for example. Both of these blends are chock full of herbs for your nutritional benefit.
With Green tea as the base of the Blueberry Time Machine, you will find impressive amounts of Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), a potent antioxidant and chemopreventive polyphenol.
EGCG has also been shown to support healthy aging of the skin, combat oxidative stress, support liver and kidney function, and support healthy energy levels, to name a few! ‘Blueberry Time Machine’ also contains Moringa, an impressive herb in it’s own right that supports healthy blood sugar levels, blood pressure, libido, energy, vitality, metabolic health, and a lot more. Learn about the health promoting benefits of Moringa here. Rounding out this powerhouse blend are Bilberry Leaf to support eye health, and Amla, a popular Ayurvedic berry rich in vitamin C, amino acids, minerals and numerous phytonutrients.
‘Coconut Warrior’, another impressive herbal blend, contains Assam black tea as it’s base. Black tea has numerous health supporting phytonutrients that are often under-appreciated. Specifically, black tea has been shown to:
- Support normal cell growth and division
- Support cardiovascular health through nitric oxide production
- Modulate nervous system impairment
- Support a healthy immune system and microbiome
- Modulate oxidative stress
- And a lot more.
If that weren’t enough, ‘Coconut Warrior’ also contains Turmeric, one of the most widely studied plants that consistently demonstrates powerful effects on modulating inflammation. It also contains Pau D’Arco, a plant native to Latin America with potent immune enhancing properties. Learn more about Pau D’Arco here. Clearly we could all use a lot more herbs in our life!
How to Incorporate Herbs Into Your Diet
It's quite easy to incorporate herbs into your daily routine. You're already doing this every time you enjoy a cup of Wise Ape Tea. Besides these heavenly herbal infusions, it's also quite easy to add herbs to your meals. No matter what type of food you're preparing, there is a complimentary herb that will easily elevate your dining experience; not only enhancing your culinary senses but effortlessly adding a nutritional boost that most of us could use. Here are some examples to get you started:
- Try adding fresh basil to any Thai dish. Basil goes especially well in a red or green curry, in fact, it’s an essential ingredient. Any Thai curry dish would not be complete without the basil!
- Chopped rosemary is a must for burgers, chicken dishes, and pastas. Can you imagine a nice rich tomato sauce without rosemary? It simply would not work.
- Add mint to sweet treats like chocolate, berries, and cream. One of the healthiest, guilt-free desserts you can indulge in is fresh berries and cream. Shave some dark chocolate on top and add some mint sprigs for a delicious and elegant presentation.
- Dried sage is wonderful on roasted squash and mashed root vegetables. You can also lightly pan-fry sage in avocado oil to make it crisp, then sprinkle it on top of your roasted butter squash for an incredible flavor and nutrition enhancement.
- Parsley and thyme can be added liberally to salads and as a garnish for soup and stews.
- Of course, so many herbs can be added to your morning smoothies. For savory smoothies’ cilantro, parsley, dill and lemongrass are great additions. For sweet smoothies, think mint, lemon balm, and basil. For an even bigger nutritional boost, use your favorite Wise Ape tea in place of water or milk.
- …the possibilities are endless. Experiment with different combinations to find exciting new flavors and impress your friends!
How to Grow Your Own Herbs
One of the best things about herbs is that they're incredibly easy to grow and don't need a lot of space. This means you can grow them on a porch, in a flower box, or even inside on a windowsill.
If you have space for a coffee mug, then you have space to grow your own herbs.
The first thing you want to do is determine the best places to grow your herbs. You want a spot that gets good sun exposure for at least a few hours each day. The herbs won't do well with too much shade. Once you've found the perfect spot, then you'll want to grab some growing containers. This could be a mug, flower box, flower pot, or whatever fits the space you have available.
Remember to choose a container that uses natural materials like clay or ceramic. You're going to be consuming the herbs, so you don't want a container that is painted or coated with a chemically based product as those chemicals could seep into your herbs.
Now is the fun part; decide which herbs you want to grow and buy some seeds! For beginners, herbs in the mint family work best as they are hardy and grow easily in most conditions. Think wintergreen, spearmint, and basil.
Next, it's time to purchase some good organic potting soil. Fill your growing container with the soil and add your seeds. Depending on which herbs you've chosen, you want to research how many seeds to put per inch and at what depth. Place your herbs in your chosen growing locations and remember to water them once per day in mild weather.
How To Water Your Herbs
In very hot weather, you may need to water them twice per day if the soil gets too dry. You can expect to harvest your herbs within about two to four weeks. Enjoy them steeped in hot water or added to your favorite meals.
Now sit back, relax, enjoy a cup of Wise Ape tea, and watch your herbs grow!