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The powerful health benefits of herbs and how to grow them

Thursday, June 17th 2021, 2:29 pm - Canadians are finally reaping the benefits of homegrown foods. Whether you are just sprouting some seeds on the balcony or tending to an entire garden, herbs are a great addition — both easy and healthy!

Herbs are not only simple to grow, they also burst with flavour. Their versatility makes them the perfect ingredient for some summer-fresh cooking! To help you get started, nutritionist Diane Murphy has curated this easy to follow list showcasing the health benefits of her top picks: parsley, rosemary, and oregano.

PARSLEY

  • Contains chlorophyll which helps our body produce red blood cells. These cells carry oxygen around the body, improving circulation and boosting energy
  • High in vitamin C which is a heart protective antioxidant
  • Can help decrease inflammation in arteries
  • Eat parsley raw for maximum health benefits

ROSEMARY

  • Helps to ward off blood clots and improves circulation which in turn can assist in preventing heart attack and stroke
  • Assists in memory and brain function
  • When added to red meat this powerful herb can help prevent the formation of carcinogens
  • Rich in antioxidants that can improve focus and alertness

OREGANO

  • Terpene called carvacrol is antiviral and antibacterial, preventing colds and foodborne illness like salmonella
  • Excellent source of fibre and calcium
  • Can aid in digestion by helping stomach bile

Pexels: Herbs. Credit: Pexels/Alleksana. Link: https://www.pexels.com/photo/photo-of-assorted-herbs-4113898/ Fresh herbs. (Pexels/Alleksana)

RELATED: Gardening trouble? You could be missing this key ingredient

GETTING INTO THE GARDEN

Now that you have the lowdown on why these herbs are healthy, it’s time to start growing! Our in-house garden expert, Nadine Hinds-Powell, has put together this healthy herb cheat sheet.

  • Herbs like well-drained soil and lots of sunlight
  • Parsley loves to grow towards the sun so turn your pot occasionally to help it grow
  • Organic fertilizers like fish emulsion will help introduce nitrogen which promotes leaf production
  • Always prune before the plant seeds or flowers at the top as this can make your herbs taste a little bitter

Nadine's advice for pruning varies depending on the plant:

  • Oregano: You can be pretty liberal with this plant - pruning midway down the stem to encourage new growth
  • Rosemary: Don't cut any dry or woody bark. Only snip the delicate green stems about an inch from the bottom
  • Parsley: Cut from the outside edges and take the longer stems first. Cut about an inch from the base of the plant

As the summer heats up, your herbs should be in full bloom not only adding beauty to your garden but health benefits to your body.

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