Teas, herbs and spices are some of the most antioxidant rich sources of nutrients we can include in our diets, and yet, they’re also some of the easiest to overlook with all the delicious foods we have available to us. Teas, herbs, and spices, however, are made from plants, just like veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, beans, and legumes. It’s easy to see why they’re so good for us since most things from the earth are! Specifically, teas, herbs and spices contain even denser sources of certain antioxidants than some veggies even do. Many of these antioxidants have been linked to fighting inflammation and even cancer. Some have even been shown to show promise in fighting blood sugar to fight diabetes and battle digestive problems.

Another benefit of teas, herbs and spices is how they provide balance for the body. They contain properties that can stabilize our moods, help us sleep, lower stress, and some even help give us energy.

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Here are some you can always count on when you’re not feeling your best  and want to add a little something special and nutritious to your meals or throughout your day:

Chamomile

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A well-known flower that’s consumed as a tea, chamomile helps provide a sense of calm, can alleviate digestive distress, can help you sleep, and can create a sense of zen in the body. It’s often consumed at night before bed, but if you’re having an erratic day and need something to settle your nerves or digestion, have a cup of chamomile tea for some quick comfort fast.

 

Peppermint

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A herb that’s so wonderful for many things, peppermint can relieve headaches, digestive problems, fatigue, stress, and even heartburn and indigestion. You can consume it as a tea, as a food-grade essential oil, and enjoy the whole leaf itself (which goes delightfully in a smoothie).

 

Cinnamon

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Helpful for relieving digestive complaints, possibly balancing the blood sugar, and also reducing stress, cinnamon is another top spice to include in your diet. It goes great with both savory and sweet foods, and can easily be mixed into just about anything. Buy Ceylon cinnamon as the healthiest option, which is “true” cinnamon and not mock cinnamon, also known as cassia cinnamon.

 

Ginger

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Helpful for reducing digestive upset and headaches, along with stress and inflammation, ginger can be consumed either as a tea or from the whole root itself. Though it’s sold in the spice aisle, ginger is actually a root, which means it has a naturally grounding, balancing property as all roots do. Use ginger in a smoothie, in tea, shaved onto entrees, juice it, or just sip on some yummy ginger tea. Here are some more tips about ginger if you need some how-to tips for how to use it best!

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Turmeric

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Turmeric is a fantastic spice to consume for so many reasons, one being inflammation, and another being digestion. Whether as a tea, on an entree, sprinkled in a smoothie (or even oatmeal!), in rice or on a salad, turmeric provides strength, support and guess what? It’s also a root, so it provides the same balancing properties that ginger does.

 

Basil

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Basil reduces inflammation, fights off harmful bacteria, reduces stress and let’s be honest – it tastes great! Basil is the leaf of a flowering plant and can be bought as a dried herb or the whole leaf can be steeped as a tea. Some people find it helps with indigestion while others find it helps reduce inflammation. You can cook with it, add it to smoothies, enjoy it as a tea, or just add it to a salad or your next batch of cooked greens. Here are 10 foods to cook with basil if you need more ideas!

 

Oregano

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Oregano is a powerful source of Vitamin B6, which is a great vitamin for reducing anxiety and stress, providing energy and it also protects your digestive tract. Oregano fights off harmful bacteria just like basil, and both are commonly used in Italian dishes though they can be used anywhere. It’s even lovely as savory tea and combines well with basil, turmeric, garlic, and pepper. Oregano is also calming to the body; with just a sniff, it brings instant calm and a mood boost!

Green Tea

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Green tea, specifically matcha tea, is an excellent source of antioxidants that fights cancer and protects the heart. Green tea seems to stop the mutation of cancerous cells and it’s excellent for promoting balance due its high amounts of the amino acid, L-theanine. L-theanine reduces stress and anxiety, which is one reason green tea may help calm an upset stomach. Green tea whether decaf or caffeinated will provide chlorophyll since it’s not heated at high temps like black tea is. If you can snag some matcha, definitely give this unprocessed tea a chance. Forty times higher in antioxidants than regular green tea, quality matcha is also higher in chlorophyll and L-theanine.

Try some of these plant-based herbs, teas, and spices to help you feel better when you’re just not feeling up to par. Other good choices include cloves, maca root, rooibos tea, ashwaganda, and Rhodiola. Also, see how to use some of these in the form of Essential Oils for IBS if that’s a concern.

Do you use these herbs, spices, and teas to promote balance in the body?

Lead Image Source: Jeffrey Jenum/Flickr