8 Herbs and Spices to Kickstart Your Day!

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A smoothie is a great way to start your morning. You can avoid loading up on carbs and sugars that will drag you into a midday slump and fill your breakfast blend with essential vitamins and nutrients that will keep you energized and help your body function optimally all day long. A healthy and hardy breakfast will set the tone for the rest of the day, so it’s worth putting in a little extra effort to make your breakfast a benefit to you.

Here are 8 ingredients that can turn any breakfast smoothie into a power kick-start for the day ahead. Feel free to experiment to see what you like and how it effects your day.

1. Basil

Basil is originally native to Iran, India and other tropical regions of Asia and grows best in warm, tropical climates. Basil’s flavonoids and volatile oils are what give it its unique health benefits. Flavonoids found in basil provide protection at a cellular level by protecting the cell structures from radiation and oxygen-based damage. Thanks to its volatile oils, basil has also been shown to provide protection against unwanted bacteria growth, even on bacteria that have become resistant to commonly used antibiotics.

The best part of this herb is how easy it is to grow at home in your own kitchen! Plant one in your garden or purchase a small plant to keep on the counter. This way, it is easy to add to any meal at any time.

2. Tumeric

Tumeric roots have long been used in traditional Indian and Chinese medicines for their anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-cancer properties.

You may recognize turmeric as a spice used in curry, while others may know it as the element that makes mustard bright yellow; however, what most people don’t know are the true health benefits of turmeric and the impact it can have on your body. Many studies have shown that it has major benefits for your body and brain.

Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. Curcumin can also neutralize free radicals that cause oxygen-based damage and boosts the activity of the body’s own antioxidant enzymes.

3. Cilantro

Cilantro is a popular Mediterranean herb that can add a refreshing citrusy flavor to any smoothie. Cilantro contains a variety of nutrients and chemical compounds that are known to prevent disease and promote good health. Its dark green leaves contain antioxidants, essential oils, vitamins and fiber.

Like basil, cilantro contains essential volatile oils and flavonoids to protect against unwanted bacteria growth. Cilantro is also one of the richest herbal sources for vitamin K, a good source for bone mass building and limiting neuronal damage in the brain.

4. Mint

Peppermint herb is originally native to Europe but is not cultivated in almost all regions of the world. You often see restaurants offering mints after a big meal. This is because mint helps with toxin buildup in the stomach and colon, helping with digestion. Mint contains numerous plant derived compounds that have anti-oxidant, disease-preventing, and health promoting properties.

This herb also contains essential volatile oils that effect cold-sensitive receptors in the skin, mouth and throat. It is also an excellent source of minerals like potassium, calcium and iron.

5. Parsley

Similar to cilantro, parsley also has a distinctive flavor that can enhance your smoothie with a fresh, light herbaceous taste! Parsley’s unique qualities helps it detoxify the bladder, kidneys and liver- three main filters in the body.

Native to the Mediterranean, parsley is rich in flavonoid antioxidants and is a great source for minerals like potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium.

6. Ginger

Ginger is a spicy, healing root known to help with nausea, gas and inflammation. Ginger has been used since ancient times for its anti-inflammatory properties and still holds a special purpose in many traditional Indian and Chinese medicines. It contains beneficial essential oils that help improve digestions and intestinal inflammation. Additionally, Ginger contains a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese and copper.

7. Cinnamon

This spice is native to a Sri Lankan island but is also grown in several other countries like Myanmar, Bangladesh, India, China, and Indonesia.

Cinnamon is a highly prized spice that has been used in medicine and culinary since biblical times. Cinnamon spices are known to have anti-oxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties. Cinnamon spice may contain the highest anti-oxidant strength of all food sources in nature.

This spice contains essential oils and has been found to have anti-clotting properties that prevent platelet clogging in blood vessels. Cinnamon is also a good source for minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron and zinc.

8. Ground Red Pepper

This pepper plant is native to the Central American region where it was used as a spicy ingredient in Mexican cuisines for several thousand years. This spicy pod was introduced to the rest of the world, especially in the Indian subcontinent, by Spanish and Portuguese explorers during 16th and 17th centuries. They are now one of the important commercial crops in India, Pakistan, China, Argentina and USA.

Ground red pepper is very potent and adds a spicy kick to any meal, so use it sparingly. This spice is a great source for vitamins and essential minerals such as iron, copper, zinc, potassium, magnesium, and selenium. Peppers are also a good source for B-complex vitamins that help facilitate cellular metabolism.

 

Sources: Rodale Wellness, The World’s Healthiest Foods, Nutrition and You

8 Herbs and Spices to Kickstart Your Day!

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