Five Healthiest Herbs to Grow Indoors

HerbsSo you’ve decided to grow herbs indoors and have fresh herbs at your disposal—that’s fantastic! Fresh herbs are aromatic, flavorful, and healthy additions to any recipe. But your kitchen space is valuable and should be maximized; you may only have a windowsill or small strip of counter space to work with, and it’s unlikely you have an entire greenhouse at your disposal.

So, now that you’ve bought your pots, soil, and LED grow lights, it’s time to pick out what you’ll be growing. Here are the five healthiest herbs for your growing space—and they’re so tasty too!

Basil
It’s delicious and fragrant, so rejoice, all ye Italian-food-lovers! Basil also has a surprisingly high number of health benefits. It’s full of beta-carotene, which is a highly potent form of vitamin A, and it helps cholesterol to not build up on blood vessel walls by not allowing it to oxidize.

It also is full of Vitamin K, which can prevent nerve cell death, which in turn decreases your chances of Alzheimer’s disease. It also contains a chemical called eugenol, which works as an anti-inflammatory and comes with all the benefits of anti-inflammatories (good for asthma, heart problems, pain, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel conditions).

It also happens to boost the health of your hair, skin, and immune system. Between that, how nice it smells, and how delicious it is in practically anything, there’s no reason for you not to have fresh basil on hand all the time.

Peppermint
This herb has been used for thousands of years—dried mint leaves have been found in Egyptian tombs alongside mummies! And why not? Mint leaves help with congestion and inflammation that asthma and allergy sufferers deal with every day. Besides that, they ease stomachaches, nausea, and even headaches.

Peppermint leaves, picked up and dropped into boiling water as tea, alleviate a variety of ills and are very soothing in any instance. This is partially due to the fact that mint is soothing to your stomach, but it also effectively helps your muscles release tension that would otherwise prevent you from relaxing and falling asleep.

Oregano
The “pizza herb” rose to mass popularity in America after WWII G.I.’s carried it back in their hearts after tasting it in Italy. It’s been used in Italian cooking for centuries, and may be one of the healthiest things about pizza! Oregano has amazingly high antioxidant activity and antimicrobial properties—think of it as Scrubbing Bubbles for your bloodstream.

It is also high in fiber, vitamin K, and minerals. There’s no going wrong there.

Rosemary
Like so many of the other herbs, it prevents cancer; recent research shows that a compound called carnasol, found in rosemary, may be an effective anti-cancer compound. Researchers have had promising results in studies of its efficacy against breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, leukemia, and skin cancer.

But it also improves both mood and memory, relieves pain (including stubborn migraine pain!), and improves the health of your stomach and digestive system.

Thyme
Another natural anti-inflammatory, this delectable herb aids in heart and respiratory health and is another antibacterial herb. Besides that, it is high in antioxidants and iron and improves bone and skin health through its nutritional content and antimicrobial properties.

Now, if you happen to have a little more room left over, there are many herbs and spices that will be healthy additions to your diet. However, these five are a nutritious and delicious place to start.

Nina Hiatt currently lives with her husband, Bill, and she enjoys blogging about her many interests, which include gardening, ice hockey, and baking.

Image Credit: Useofherbs.com

How to Shop Healthy: Quick Tips on Eating Healthier

healthy-shoppingWe all want to eat healthier—that’s a fact. The problem is finding ways to eat healthy isn’t as clear cut as it seems. Low-fat, low-carb, low cholesterol, how do we know what is the best option? There are many ways we can eat healthier, but knowing a few quick tips can actually steer you closer to a new healthier you. Check out what we found when we took a closer look at shopping with health conscious food in mind.

Fat-free Vs. Fat
Fats bad – right? That is what we have learned over the years. In reality, you need to look a little deeper—in most cases fat-free is actually worse for you. Yes, you read that right., fat-free isn’t the healthier choice 9 times out of 10. Why is that? If you take a look at two exact products—one with the fat-free option and the other that has all the fat you might be surprised.

Sugar and sodium are usually extremely high in the fat-free option (Great examples of this are milk, peanut butter and cookies). Why? Sugar and sodium are calorie free, and add flavor. However, sugar and sodium in large amounts are actually worse for you than fat. Try using the full fat option but control your portion size.

Only Shop in the Outer Aisles
Ninety percent of the foods not in the center of the grocery store are fresh, non-processed foods. Staying clear of the middle of the grocery store means you won’t buy foods that are high in sugar, sodium, fat and chemically processed.

Organic
Did you know if something is labeled organic it might not be 100% organic? If eating organic is important to you and your family make sure it says 100% organic. If not, you could be spending extra money for something that is only 74-95% organic. Reader’s Digest goes into detail about what it means to use an organic label.

Become a Planner
It’s nice to say you’ll make a list—but how many times do you go through with it? Planning out meals is one of the top ways to eat healthier. Try and incorporate your meal planning into a family activity. Everyone can come up with fun recipes and hopefully keep their health in mind as well.

Have you found out quick ways to shop healthier? Let us know your tricks in the comments below.