Wednesday: Welcome to Wednesday Why

Every Wednesday we’ll walk you through the “whys” of each weekly challenge. When you know the reason behind what you’re doing, you’re more likely to stick to the habit.

For this final week, you have the option to return to a previous module or play Eat the Rainbow Bingo. Either way, you’ll continue to reap the bountiful benefits of adding more plant varieties to your plates!

Throughout the Challenge, we’ve discussed health benefits as they relate to vegetables and fruit, but let’s take some time to discuss the culinary herbal effect aka the potent power of adding herbs to our diets.

Even though we don’t use herbs in our diet in high doses (i.e. therapeutic vs culinary doses), they still add plenty of color and nutritional value to our plates, including:

  • Rich in Antioxidants: Herbs such as oregano, rosemary, thyme, and sage are packed with antioxidants that help protect the body's cells from damage caused by harmful free radicals.
  • Nutrient Dense: Many herbs are concentrated sources of essential vitamins and minerals. For example, parsley is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin C, and folate, while basil provides vitamin K, iron, and calcium.
  • Anti-Inflammatory Properties: Several herbs, including turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon, possess anti-inflammatory properties that may help reduce inflammation in the body, therefore potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases progression and development.
  • Digestive Aid: Certain herbs, like peppermint, ginger, and chamomile, can aid digestion and soothe gastrointestinal discomfort. They may help alleviate symptoms such as bloating, indigestion, and nausea.
  • Potential Blood Sugar Regulation: Some herbs, including cinnamon and fenugreek, have been shown to help regulate blood sugar levels, which can be beneficial for individuals with diabetes or those at risk of developing diabetes.
  • Heart Health Support: Herbs like garlic and hawthorn have been clinically associated with cardiovascular benefits, including lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol levels, and supporting overall heart health.
  • Flavor Enhancement: Adding herbs to your dishes can enhance the flavor of your meals, making them more enjoyable and satisfying - arguable the most important benefit!

You can use traditional preparation methods to make teas and tinctures, or use them as ingredients in nutraceuticals to maximize their therapeutic benefits.

BUT, the research shows that even culinary doses of these herbs and spices – normal quantities you’d use in your day-to-day cooking – exert some level of these benefits! In fact, the synergy of their use along with other nutrients in the meal can have a powerful effect on our health.