You are probably already familiar with the wonderful flavors herbs and spices bring to food, but did you know that many culinary herbs also have terrific healing properties and promote longevity? Think of spices and herbs as tiny nutritional powerhouses with potent anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, and health-promoting properties that can reduce your risk of cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and more. (1)
Here we’ll discuss three anti-aging culinary herbs, their health benefits, and how you can add more to your diet. So let’s dive in!
Rosemary is an evergreen herb that is easy to grow and packs a powerful anti-aging punch. It is a versatile herb that can be added to almost any dish.
Benefits of Rosemary
Promotes healthy mental status. Anti-anxiety, antidepressant, and sleep enhancing effects were shown in studies of healthy adults and those suffering from depression. (6, 7, 8) Rosemary alters the gut microbiome (healthy bacteria in the gut) to promote good mental health and prevent anxiety and depression. (9)
Helps with hair loss. One study found applying rosemary oil was as potent as Minoxidil 2%, which is sold over the counter to help with hair regrowth. Those using rosemary oil had significantly less scalp itching than the Minoxidil group. (10)
Helps manage seasonal and dust mite allergies and associated congestion. (11)
Pro Tip: Use a pepper grinder to grind dried rosemary to increase nutritional value. We like this Rosemary:
How to Add More Rosemary to Your Diet
- Add to soups, stews, casseroles, meats, fish, and roasted vegetables or potatoes.
- Grind over salad
- Add liberally to scrambled eggs
- Use rosemary infused olive oil or add ground rosemary to your own olive oil
Cinnamon is a fragrant spice with a sweet, spicy flavor that pairs well with baked goods and coffee. Aside from its delicious flavor, cinnamon packs a whole host of health benefits.
Benefits of Cinnamon
Cinnamon’s real claim to fame is its ability to lower blood sugar. (12) Cinnamon delays the digestion of carbohydrates, preventing blood sugar surges (13, 14) and improves insulin sensitivity. (15) Diabetics and those with pre-diabetes can benefit tremendously from adding a daily dose of Cinnamon to their diet. Furthermore, there is some evidence that Cinnamon can prevent insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome (define) and type 2 diabetes in healthy individuals. (16)
Helps prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Cinnamon is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, thus protecting tissues from damage and lowering the risk of chronic disease. (17, 18, 19)
May prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, a degenerative brain disease that impacts memory, function, and behavior. It may also help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.(22) One animal study showed that cinnamon improved cognitive and motor skills and partially reversed Alzheimer’s disease. (23)
Pro Tip: Most spices labeled “Cinnamon” in the United States are Cinnamon Cassia, which can cause excessive blood thinning when consumed daily. If you want to add cinnamon to your diet, be sure to look for Ceylon Cinnamon, or True Cinnamon, preferably organic.
How to Add More Cinnamon to your Diet
- Sprinkle in your morning coffee
- Enjoy oatmeal or yogurt with wild blueberries and cinnamon
- Add to baked goods, french toast, or pancakes
- Sprinkle on blueberries and banana for a healthy dessert or snack
- Enjoy in tea, like this herbal sweet and spicy tea by Good Earth
- Sprinkle on sweet potatoes or butternut squash
Sage has a strong and earthy flavor, so is most often used in small amounts. But even when used minimally, this herb packs a powerful punch, delivering a host of health-boosting and anti-aging properties.
Benefits of Sage
Drinking sage tea twice a day can lower LDL (the bad cholesterol), while raising HDL (the good cholesterol), thus helping to prevent heart disease. Similar benefits were found when consuming sage or sage extracts. (31, 32, 33)
How to Add Sage to Your Diet
- Sprinkle in soups and stews
- Use as a dry rub for meats
- Add to scrambled eggs or omelets
- Combine with butter to create a delicious sauce for butternut squash or butternut squash ravioli
Herbs and spices are a terrific way to add flavor and potent nutritional value to meals. By supporting the body rom the inside out, these anti-aging herbs and spices support healthy aging and a better quality of life. Experiment with a variety of herbs and spices for maximum benefit.
Pam is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a Master’s of Public Health and a Certificate in Integrative and Functional Nutrition. Passionate about the science of health and nutrition, she loves to share her knowledge to help others live healthy, vibrant lives. When not working, Pam can be found hiking, traveling, and enjoying great-tasting, nutritious food.