Parsley – is very rich in vitamin C, evidently a single serving of 30g provides more than half the recommended daily amount if this vitamin. It is also a good source of beta-carotene which our bodies convert into vitamin A. Vitamins A & C are also antioxidants, they protect cells from damage by harmful free radicals, which are the bad guys, involved in a whole range of diseases from cancer to heart disease.
Garlic – this is just brilliant! Allicin, the main ingredient of garlic, relaxes blood vessels so reducing blood pressure. It has also been clinically proven to help keep your arteries clear of nasty cholesterol. Garlic also has powerful antibiotic properties and was a lifesaver when used in traditional medicine, in the days before the discovery of penicillin.
Watercress – this one packs a peppery but nutritional punch! Gram for gram it is higher in vitamin C than oranges and has a higher content of iron than spinach. It too is packed with beta-carotene.
4 eggs beaten
80g watercress chopped finely
2 tbsp grated cheese
1 crushed clove of garlic
1 tsp olive oil or spray
Either spray a non-stick pan with olive oil or add 1 tsp to the pan and gently fry the garlic for about 2-3 minutes
In a bowl, beat the eggs and add half of the watercress. Once beaten, pour into the pan
Cook until the eggs have set
Now, add the remainder of the watercress and the grated cheese to the pan
When the top of the omelette is lightly set, fold it in half and cut into two pieces
Serve the omelette with a chunk of fresh, crusty french bread and a large green salad
Rosemary – the great news about this herb is that is may help slow the brain-ageing process (according to the scientists at the Burnham Institute for Medical Research in the US and at Japan’s Iwake University). It too has properties that protect the brain from damage by those pesky free radicals. Rosemary goes brilliantly with lamb:-
Melt some red currant jelly in a bowl in the microwave, usually takes about 10 seconds on high power in my micro
Chop up some fresh rosemary, you need about a level tablespoonful
Add the rosemary together with a crushed clove of garlic and about a tablespoonful of balsamic vinegar, to the melted jelly
Whisk together to form a marinade
Take two lamb chops or steaks and place in a dish. Pour the marinade over and leave for at least 30 mins.to let the full flavour develop
Cook the lamb under a medium grill for 5 – 6 minutes each side, depending on how thick the meat is and how you like your lamb
Serve with fresh carrots, broccoli and sliced green beans
Thyme – this goes great with poultry, especially chicken, but thyme has been used for years in herbal medicine to treat chest compliants. It has antiseptic and antibacterial qualities and evidently a study on rats found that supplementing their diet with thyme could help slow brain ageing! Thyme also contains antioxidants called flavonoids that can help reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes.
Herbs have been around for hundreds of years and have helped previous generations, long before the advent of modern medicine. They are so undervalued, but they don’t just taste good they offer us great health benefits too. So, off you go and stock up your store cupboard