By MACROS | Published on August 28, 2017
You’ve been conditioned to believe herbs are little more than a flavour-enhancing garnish, but treating them as a main course could spark new lightning-quick advances to your health and longevity.
Some herbs should be considered as regular vegetables and deserve to be thought of as more than just an after-thought, and they could be the most undereaten source of plant nutrition.
Here’s why you should reconsider how you include them in your diet plan to help improve your longevity while amping up your athletic performance.
Herbs: If you’re eating this part of a plant, it’s generally considered a herb, but if you’re eating something else like the bulb or stem, it’s technically a spice. Most herbs hold all their flavour and aroma in their leaves. Research in the journal Free Radicals and Antioxidants found, with the exception of oregano, herbs’ antioxidants become less potent when they’re dried. Fresher is always better.
Vegetables: While the veggie itself is the end prize, their leaves are often foolishly discarded. Research in Food Science and Technology found beetroot leaves are actually full of extremely beneficial antioxidants. Plus, they have crazy amounts of the nutritional vitamins A and K. The same goes for carrot and radish tops. If you’re paying for it, look towards getting your money’s worth by eating everything.
Herbs: Since they’re smaller and don’t have to develop into a chunky vegetable like a spud, they’re often faster to grow. Seeds can be tricky to nurture so they’re easier to grow from seedlings from your local nursery. You can also eat their nutrient-rich stems by softening them in a stir-fry.
Vegetables: Vegetables generally yield once or twice a year but some definitely grow faster than others. Spinach and green onion can take just 25 days to be ready for picking, while pumpkin can take up to 120 days. This accounts for the size difference in yields between herbs and vegetables, but don’t discard all stems, because, according to the USDA, broccoli ones have 6% more vitamin C and 2% more folate than the florets. Edge your bets by eating the whole thing.
Herbs: While not immune to creepy crawlies, herbs can actually fight common nuisances and blights. Research at the University of British Columbia, US, found the oils in herbs can protect crops against pests, while rosemary, thyme, clove and mint are excellent at protecting your garden. Produce that’s been sprayed with fewer pesticides is definitely more preferable if you want to get healthier.
Vegetables: The rest of nature loves your veggies just as much as you do, so farmers need to resort to income protection strategies in the form of pesticides. Research at the University of Oxford found a strong link between heavily sprayed veggies and lower sperm counts. Organic produce is a good way to keep your swimmers, and family tree, looking healthy.
Herbs: These thrive in most kinds of soil, don’t need a great deal of fertiliser and can even survive against all odds. Research at Universiti Putra, Malaysia, found that purslane, an excellent salad herb, can grow in salty soil, which is key to giving it more antioxidants than vegetables like asparagus, cabbage and Swiss chard. Tough enough to make your immune system tougher.
Vegetables: They’re less likely to spring up without a well-considered planting effort because their soil needs a little more TLC. They need to be fed with organic matter, loose for drainage and free from competitive weeds that steal nutrients. There is nothing accidental about enjoying the perfect carrot.
Herbs: On average, herbs have smaller root systems than vegetables so do well in shallow soils and can even thrive in tiny spaces, like an urban balcony garden. Their underground bounty offers exceptionally powerful health elixirs, with research finding that ginger and turmeric roots are powerful weapons in the fight against cancer.
Vegetables: A bigger plant, vegetables roots can go as deep as 10 feet, which is the case with mature asparagus. Fortunately, research at Kansas State University, US, found the risks of eating contaminated veggies from urban gardens is really low as long as you follow best practices, like adding compost, getting the soil tested and adding nutrients.