A Beginner's Guide to Herbs and Spices
Add a little zing
If you're like me, you have an entire drawer of spices, but have no idea how to use them. Not only are herbs and spices a low-cal way to add zest to your meal, but they also have a slew of health benefits. Try these 10 easy-to-use herbs and spices in your upcoming meals.
Health benefits: Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial characteristics. It's also a rich source of magnesium.
How to use it: This popular Italian seasoning is great in pesto, on white meats, combined with fruit (such as raspberries and strawberries), or added in stir-fries. Just remember to add it at the end—cooking it ruins the flavor.
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May work as a natural pain reliever, contains vitamin A, and may 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.
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Contains iron and calcium. Its oils may help neutralize carcinogens.
How to use it: This aromatic herb is best with salmon, added in borscht or other stews, on a variety of vegetables (especially carrots and cucumbers), and even mixed with yogurt.
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It's a good source of fiber, iron, and disease-fighting phytonutrients.
How to use it: From the same plant as coriander seeds, cilantro has a slightly citrusy taste. It's best in salsa, guacamole, and combined with lemon and lime for marinades.
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It may help control blood sugar, cholesterol, and free radical production.
How to use it: Coming from the same plant as cilantro, these seeds are great added to soups, fish, and smoked meats, like turkey. It blends well with cumin.
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Contains fiber, iron, and calcium. It may also increase circulation and improve digestion.
How to use it: Its woodsy flavor works well with a variety of roasted meats (like chicken, pork, and salmon) or mixed into sauces for a more subtle taste. It also blends with tomatoes, spinach, and mushrooms.
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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: With a slightly peppery flavor, 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. And don't worry about overcooking—this powerful spice's flavor holds up well when cooked for long periods of time.
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Two teaspoons contain more than half your dietary reference intake (DRI) of vitamin K, and it protects cell membranes.
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.
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Good source of manganese, iron, and vitamin B6. It may also provide relief for arthritis.
How to use it: This colorful spice is most commonly used in curries, but it adds flavor to stir-fried veggies or rice.
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It contains vitamins K, C, and A, and hearty-healthy folate.
How to use it: This versatile spice is great in pasta dishes, sprinkled on fish and chicken, or added to potatoes.
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