Sandra M. Grant P.Dt. - Registered Clinical Nutritionist
My Blog

June 2014

June...The Benefits of Herbs

Hello Again!

Ok, so when I posted last month, I mentioned how easy it is to plant herbs, but some of you might now be wondering how well they'll do without far this spring has been a little wetter than most of us would like. 

They'll do fine! With regular daylight and LOTS of water, they'll soon be little nutrient powerhouses, flourishing with dozens of disease fighting compounds. 

These disease fighting compounds vary from plant to plant. Studies suggest different compounds work at different stages of disease development, so a variety of plant foods is crucial! 

Those present in cruciferous vegetables and garlic for example, act by blocking cancer causing substances (such as UV rays, free radicals, environmental toxins) while others prevent the growth of tumours by interfering directly with the tumour cells or by preventing the formation of blood vessels needed for a tumour to grow. For more on this click here.

So it is no wonder that pharmacy shelves are packed with supplements of allicin, quinones, lycopene and dozens of other phytochemical substances BUT many people don't know that the studies are done on the effects of the whole plant, NOT the supplement. Anytime a living plant is transformed into a powder or pill, there is a great loss of....just about everything natural, including nutrients.  How much of the plant is even still there? The colour is gone...phytonutrients are generally found in the colour and/or scent of the plant. They are after all, the plant's protection against preditors! How many supplements have a fresh herbal scent? 
Scientists believe the health benefits of plant foods come from the synergy of vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and other phytochemicals within the plant working together. Research does not show the same results with supplements.

So skip the supplements and indulge in a variety of herbs and spices. Try to get some of them from your very own garden! Squeeze as many as you can into that little vegetable patch and enjoy them all summer long!

To help get you started, Here's one of my favourite 152 chickpea recipes. Perfect for nibbling on while watching the soccer...Enjoy!

Chili-Lime Roasted Chickpeas 
2, 15-ounce cans chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed, and blotted dry 
3-4 tsps chili powder* 
1 tsp + 2Tbs olive oil (divided) 
1 Tbs + 1 tsp fresh squeezed lime juice 
3/4 tsp sea salt 
1-2 tsp cumin* 
Dried and/or fresh herbs of your choice (I use a little rosemary and thyme). *Start with the lowest amount of spice, then add more to taste.   

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and brush lightly with 1 tsp olive oil. 

Combine chili powder, remaining olive oil, lime juice, sea salt, and cumin in a medium bowl. Whisk to mix. Pour chickpeas into the mixture and stir to coat well. Spread chickpeas out in a single layer over the foil. Once oven is preheated, bake chickpeas for 45-50 minutes, stirring and flipping every 15 minutes or so. Check for doneness by removing a few chickpeas, letting them cool for a minute, and then biting into them. Remove from oven when they’re really crunchy.    

Enjoy immediately, or store in an airtight container to eat later.   
 Adapted from Chowmama

Note: If you find them too dry, reserve a small amount of the marinade to lightly toss with the cooked chickpeas once they're out of the oven. 
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