Herbs and spices healthy and tasty
What are your favourite herbs or spices to use in cooking and why? Thanks Dan
Hi Dan. I absolutely love using fresh herbs and spices inmy cooking – along with fresh ingredients, good quality oils and a little salt and pepper can go a long way to producing a delicious yet simple meal.
These are just a few of my favourites. PARSLEY Parsley is a delicious and versatile herb, the nourishing properties of which are often ignored. Containing a wonderful variety of nutrients including vitamins C and K, it’s also a great source of flavonoids. The flavonoids in parsley, such as luteolin, have been shown to function as antioxidants, substances that help to protect the cells in our body from damage from pollution, including skin cells. Making your own pesto is one of the quickest and easiest ways to transform your evening meal. Using many fresh herbs including parsley, good quality oil such as cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil, salt, lemon juice and nuts or seeds – it can transform the mediocre into a taste sensation. Use it to flavour vegetables, salads or simply serve as a condiment. TURMERIC Turmeric has long been used in cooking as well as herbal medicine. It is known for its bright orange colour and potent antiinflammatory effects. Curcumin, the pigment that gives turmeric its orange colour is also the chemical responsible for the antiinflammatory effects. Curcumin is a natural antioxidant, meaning turmeric also helps protect against free radical damage and helps the liver do its critical detoxification work. Try adding fresh or dried turmeric to juices, curries, stir-fries, rice pilaf or mix up a warming winter drink made from nut milk, cinnamon, turmeric and a dash of pure maple syrup. GINGER Traditionally ginger has been used to alleviate symptoms of gastrointestinal distress and nausea.
Ginger is part of the botanical family that includes cardamom, turmeric and galangal, which are all considered hearty, warming spices but also wonderful antiinflammatory agents.
Ginger is a delicious addition to Asian cooking, green vegetables and fruit crumbles to name a few.
It’s especially delicious in warming drinks, such as chai.
I’m allergic to nuts and find lots of recipes I like that have nuts, what can I use instead? Thanks, Samantha.
Hi Samantha. Typically nuts are used in recipes due to their nutritional value and their fat content. Seeds such as sunflower and pumpkin can be used in the same quantities asmost nuts, however, it’s best to soak them first – typically they have a stronger flavour than nuts such as cashews. Alternatively you can also use coconut – desiccated, cream/milk or even oil depending on the consistency you need to achieve.
❚ Dr Libby is a nutritional biochemist, best-selling author and speaker. The advice contained in this column is not intended to be a substitute for direct, personalised advice from a health professional. Dr Libby’s cookbook Real Food Kitchen is filled with recipes to inspire and nourish you. Available from all good bookstores and www.drlibby.com.
Parsley contains vitamins C and K and can be used to flavour vegetables and salads.
WITH AUTHOR AND NUTRITIONAL BIOCHEMIST DR LIBBY