Six Herbs to Complement a Paleo Diet

Paleo diet uses herbs for health benefits & to naturally enhance flavor.

Author: Patricia Bratianu RN PhD RH-AHG

The Paleo diet is based on the diet of our ancient ancestors. It is a very healthy, varied, common sense approach to nutrition. Dairy, processed foods, gluten, processed soy, additives and preservatives are eliminated.  Free range meats are included. Food from each food group is consumed. Healthy fats are used, and herbs are freely used when following the Paleo diet. Let’s take a look at some common herbs that you may want to include in your Paleo diet.

Tasty basil is packed with health benefits. Most herbs taste best when fresh. Basil is outstanding when grown in a pot for year round use. It enhances concentration and relaxation. Basil relieves anxiety and headaches, and has anti-inflammatory actions similar to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Basil helps balance blood sugar levels. It can relieve spasms and help your circulation. Basil contains vitamins A and C, and is packed with magnesium, iron and potassium. It has traditionally been used as an aphrodisiac and antidepressant.

Nutmeg has been used since the time of ancient Greeks and Romans as a brain tonic. Modern studies show that nutmeg may relieve stress and anxiety, and is an effective sleep aid. Nutmeg should only be used in small amounts. Pregnant women may wish to avoid nutmeg as it may be linked to miscarriages. Nutmeg contains copper, iron, potassium and magnesium. It relaxes muscles.

Nettle is a delicious spring green. Be sure to either pick carefully or wear gloves, as it does sting. Drying or cooking nettle removes the sting. Nettle helps promote a healthy acid alkaline balance within the body. It is rich in iron, vitamin K, calcium and other vitamins and minerals. Unlike strongly acidic sorrel or spinach, the iron in nettle is in a readily bioavailable form. Nettle is a fabulous whole body tonic, especially beneficial for women’s health.

Garlic and other alliums such as chives, onions, leeks and shallots are rich in sulfur and allicin. These are antibacterial substances that fight infection. The alliums help to reduce cholesterol and high blood pressure. They are useful in relieving respiratory infections. In addition to their health benefits, the allium family offers delicious tastes.

Cayenne gives kick to food dishes with its spicy heat. It is a stimulating herb rich in vitamins C and A. Cayenne reduces pain, is anti-inflammatory and is a tonic for the cardiovascular system.

Cinnamon tastes sweet and spicy. It can provide depth to recipes. Cinnamon is antibacterial and helps to promote healthy blood sugar levels.

If you are following the Paleo diet or considering trying it, know that it is a healthy option that offers you many delicious flavors. Add some ordinary kitchen herbs to your Paleo diet for enhancing taste and for multiple health benefits.

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