It’s perfectly fine to treat yourself now and then, but if your body is struggling to cope with the excesses of Christmas, these herbs can help to balance you out.
The following ingredients can be added to your Christmas dishes or enjoyed with regular meals.
If you use these frequently, you will see the benefits after only four or five days. You will feel less bloated, you will digest better, and consequently, your overall appearance will change too. You’ll feel less tired and have more energy to work out. You might lose weight if this is one of your goals and the skin will glow more.
Try to add your favourite herbs to your meals daily.
A powerful anti-inflammatory spice, turmeric improves the body’s ability to break down food which improves nutrients absorption. It improves protein digestion, which is important for gut health because undigested protein can cause inflammation in the gut.
Turmeric also encourages regular bowel movement.
How to use turmeric: It is best utilised when consumed with a fat, for example, coconut oil. You can use it in curries, stir-fries, add to eggs, meat, fish, yoghurt, or in hot beverages like tea and warm milk.
Like turmeric, ginger helps with digestion and it is a powerful anti-inflammatory; in Chinese medicine, doctors say that it helps break down sweet food, like squash and sweet potatoes.
It increases metabolism, used as an anti-nausea effect and it helps with feelings of fullness.
How to use ginger: You can make fresh juice with ginger or brew it in tea. It can also be grated or cooked in curries, stir-fries, marinated chicken, and salmon. It can be used as a pickle as a side dish or appetizer to stimulate digestion.
It is a powerful antioxidant and is said to have prebiotic properties, which means it enhances the growth of beneficial bacteria.
Traditionally, it was used for indigestion and to treat gas and bloating caused by poor fat digestion.
How to use rosemary: You can add its leaves to many dishes, like potatoes, roasted chicken, white fish, various meats, and bread. You can also infuse it in extra virgin olive oil, which is traditional in Mediterranean countries.
Sage supports digestion, reduces bloating and inflammation, protects against infections, and lowers blood sugar.
How to use sage: You can sauté it in butter or olive oil, and add it to chicken, seafood, and root vegetables. It adds a delicious taste to polenta, or beans, and can be used in stews and soups.
Garlic is technically a vegetable but it is used to flavour dishes. Garlic is a strong antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiviral vegetable, and it also reduces blood sugar.
How to use garlic: You can use it raw or roasted into dips, sauces or dressings, like for pesto and hummus; it can also be crushed or chopped and added into meat, cooked grains, stir-fries and vegetables.
Cinnamon helps to restore the gut lining. It is used for indigestion, nausea, and regulating blood sugar.
How to use cinnamon: You can use it in hot beverages to add a spicy, earthy flavour. Cinnamon pairs well with foods like apples, pears, bananas, squash, sweet potatoes, grains, baked goods, coffee, and tea.
Black pepper helps with digesting fat and has positive effects on weight management. It’s an antioxidant that can ease constipation.
How to use black pepper: You can use it in any savoury dish.
Fennel has antioxidant properties. It can improve digestion, suppress appetite, and support healthy liver function. It is believed that drinking fennel seed tea can help with healthy weight loss.
How to use fennel: Fennel can be chopped or sautéed and used in seafood, poultry, and vegetable dishes. Its seeds, bulbs, and leaves can be used in stews, soups, stir-fries and curries.
Basil’s oils have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. It is used for calming and stabilising the mood. It is also used as an anti-nausea remedy and it helps with gas and digestive spasms.
How to use basil: You can use it fresh or dried. It pairs well with pesto, sauces, Mediterranean dishes, and pasta.
Don’t be afraid to get creative with these herbs and spices. If you need some ideas, check out my three recipes that include these ingredients.
Information provided by Paola Langella, nutritionist and founder of https://www.shapesstudio.co