They're one of the reasons I look forward to summer.
How do you keep that feel good vibe going all summer long? Support your insides and you'll radiate gorgeousness on the outside.
Some of the greatest foods to reach for to get + keep that summer glow are fresh herbs. They're incredibly easy to grow, even if you don't have a green thumb. (Hand raised over here.) Growing them in your garden, on your balcony or deck, means they'll be as nutrient dense as possible. Why? Because it's farm to table at its finest.
Nutritionally, produce is most valuable as soon as it's harvested. So having herbs go straight from your garden to your table means you end up with dishes that not only taste amazing, but that are also amazingly good for you. That influx of nutrients means supporting good health all summer long. Leaving you looking and feeling amazing.
How Herbs Help You Look + Feel Amazing
They're nutritional powerhouses. They support your immune, eye and cardiovascular health. They're great sources of amino acids like tryptophan, which we need to make serotonin (our happy brain chemical).
They also have protein, iron, calcium, vitamin A (skin + immune health), vitamin C (immune health, incredible antioxidant, wound healing + anti-inflammatory) and vitamin K (bone health, blood health + builder, cardiovascular support + wound healing).
Some of my favourite herbs to use during summer and why I love them:
- Basil - it's anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and incredibly high in vitamin K. We use vitamin K for the health of our bones and our blood, from clotting to forming our red blood cells.
- Cilantro - the little herb that's won me over. I used to loathe it and now I can't get enough of it. It contains limonene which is excellent for supporting liver detoxification. It's also really good for pulling heavy metals like mercury from the body.
- Dill - gram for gram, it has more calcium than milk and more iron than beef liver or spinach. It also has limonene which is incredibly supportive in helping the liver detoxify.
- Mint - has incredible relaxing properties. Because it relaxes your stomach muscles, it becomes really soothing to the tummy. It's great to use for indigestion. My ginger mint tonic is an excellent go-to for indigestion or stomach upset.
- Parsley - gram for gram, it also has more calcium than milk and more iron than beef liver or spinach. It's loaded with antioxidants, which helps reduce free radical damage to our cells. Free radical damage is the cornerstone of aging + disease. Parsley also supports the health of our liver and kidneys.
How to Get More Herbs in Your Day to Day
If you can sneak herbs into your daily regimen, especially during summer when they're fresh and easy to grow, you're doing your body and your mood some good. Some of my favourite ways to get more herbs into my day to day are in pestos, herb crust marinades for fish, added in salads, vinaigrettes or salad dressings.
Herbs will make any salad sing, I'm telling you. Fresh dill with some grated lemon rind over a salad is a true party for your palate. Next post, I'll share some of my favourite recipes that are loaded with fresh herbs.
How to Buy + Store Herbs
- If you're at the market or grocery store, look for fresh, crisp leaves that are rich in colour. Avoid bunches with leaves that are limp or discoloured with brown or yellow spots.
- Fresh herbs typically last just a few days. It's always dissapointing to buy them one day, then go to use them a few days later only to find out they've gone bad. So store them in an airtight container in the fridge to keep their crispness.
- Herbs are fragile, so I find it best to wash them as I use them. It helps keep the rest of the bunch fresh + crisp.
- Because they are fragile, if you are cooking with them, add herbs right before serving to keep most of the flavour + that nutritional goodness intact.
Now I'd love to hear from you. Share with me in the comments below some of your favourite ways to use fresh herbs in the summer.